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September 9, 2020

Village Tree Board Hosts Pruning Workshop

Covid-19 delayed the Village of Perry’s Arbor Day event a few months, but it was none the less successful when it occurred on Thursday, September 3, 2020. The Village of Perry Tree Board sponsored a pruning workshop in the village park. 

Some 15 people gathered for an education session led by Don Gasiewicz, the Wyoming County Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulturist and community educator. He came equipped with a variety of pruning tools, including an extendable pruning saw, hedge shears and small hand pruners. Each has a specific purpose, Gasiewicz told the group. He then demonstrated their uses on trees and shrubs at the north end of the park. 

Gasiewicz illustrated various reasons for pruning. It can improve safety or the health of plants by removing dead or diseased wood, broken branches or sucker growth. Other advantages of pruning include improvement of fruiting and flowering, increased air and light penetration, and changes or improvements to the shape of a plant. 

The group, which included Village of Perry Tree Board members, learned how best to remove suckers and unwanted branches from flowering crabs trees. Gasiewicz showed how to improve the appearance and health of overgrown lilac bushes by removing large interior branches. 

Gasiewicz showed varies types of pruning, such as thinning vs. removing large branches. With large branches, you want to avoid tearing the bark or the trunk. He also emphasized the importance of cutting beyond the branch collar. “Cuts made flush with the trunk will allow disease organisms enter the trunk,” Gasiewicz said. 

The timing of pruning is as important as technique. For example, lilacs and some other spring flowering plants should be pruned after flowering in the spring. Others, such as butterfly bush, should be pruned in March before spring growth. 

This spring and summer have stressed trees, especially in the village park. In addition to pruning, the group assessed trees that failed to leaf out or have stunted, tattered leaves. Tell spring will determine if the trees are still viable. 

Programs such as this, plus the Tree Board’s efforts to plant 50 trees a year on village rights-of-way, have made it possible for the Village of Perry to be named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. It is the only Tree City USA in Wyoming County. 

The pruning workshop was so successful that the tree board plans to bring Gasiewicz back for another workshop in the spring. Stayed tuned. 

For more information about the Village of Perry Tree Board and to access a tree request form, please see the village website or visit the Tree Board Facebook page.

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