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University of Washington Botanic Gardens: Master Pruner Series (2 CEUs per session)
Thursday, February 15, 2024, 9:30 AM - 2:30 PM PST
Category: Workshops and Meetings

This lecture series, offered twice annually in partnership with PlantAmnesty, is designed for those who work in landscape maintenance. Each lecture provides information on tools and techniques for quality pruning with better long-term results and customer satisfaction.

Classes are held weekly on Thursdays from February 1 – March 7. Classes run 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m.

February 1

9:30-11:30 a.m. – Tree Pruning I: Pruning trees makes sense when you understand the science behind it. You will be introduced to the basics of tree biology and structure, tree responses to the basic types of pruning cuts, and pruning standards and best management practices. Taught by Bess Bronstein.

12:30-2:30 p.m. – Shrub Pruning I – the Friendly, Fearless and Forgiving: Learn the basic pruning cuts, basic plant habits, and what Cass Turnbull called ‘the pruning budget.’ You will learn specific recommendations for five plants that are relatively easy to prune: nandina, evergreen azalea, lilac, camellia, and yew. Taught by Christina Pfeiffer.

February 8

9:30-11:30 a.m. – Tree Pruning II: This class will show you how, what and when to apply a specific pruning system. This class will cover the natural pruning system, including structural pruning of young trees, as well as mature tree pruning techniques (crown cleaning, crown thinning, crown raising, crown reduction). More formal systems including pollarding, espalier, and pleaching are also covered. Taught by Bess Bronstein.

12:30-2:30 p.m. – Shrub Pruning II – Shearables, Hackables, and Untouchables: Some plants get cut to the ground annually, others are barely touched or all hell breaks loose. Find out which ones are which, as well as which plants which are commonly–and appropriately–sheared every year. Plants discussed will include lavatera, heather, lavender, rockroses, witch hazel, winter sweet, double-file viburnum, Perovskia, and Senecio greyi. Taught by Christina Pfeiffer.

February 15

9:30-11:30 a.m. – Shrubs III – The Puzzlers and Consequences: This class covers how to prune rhododendron, hydrangea, callicarpa, Viburnum bodnantense, and abelia. Included in this class are basic pruning techniques, common pruning mistakes, and corrective pruning strategies. Taught by Bess Bronstein.

12:30-2:30 p.m. – Fruit Tree Pruning: Learn the basics of fruit tree pruning and how seasonal growth differences and specific goals affect when you use different pruning approaches. Apple, cherry, plum, and pear pruning will be addressed. Taught by Ingela Wanerstrand.

February 22

9:30-11:30 a.m. – Conifer Pruning: This is a two hour class specifically on conifer pruning. Conifers play by different rules than their flowering friends. This class will cover when, where, and how to make cuts that will help conifers stay vibrant. Taught by Bess Bronstein.

12:30-2:30 p.m. – Prune and Renovate the Overgrown Landscape: This is a primary class of the Master Pruner course series. It covers basic pruning of ornamental trees and shrubs as well as creative solutions to the overgrown or over-planted garden. The types of pruning cuts are shown and discussed, and the concept of the ‘pruning budget’ is discussed for different plant and different growth types. Taught by Christina Pfeiffer.

February 29

9:30-11:30 a.m. – Japanese Garden Pruning: This class will cover pruning Japanese upright maples (fan pruning), Japanese laceleaf maples (shell pruning), pruning pines (cloud pruning) and shearing masses of lower story plants. Taught by Bess Bronstein.

12:30-2:30 p.m. – Pruning Art or Pruning Atrocity?:This two hour slideshow covers the three main forms of mal-pruning: tree topping, inappropriate shearing of trees and shrubs, and over-thinning. Then we compare and contrast mal-pruning with bona-fide examples of pruning art: pollarding, cloud pruning, topiary, pleaching, and coppicing. The class ends on a humorous note as slides are shown of “The Good, the Bad, and the Bizarre”. Taught by Christina Pfeiffer.

March 7

9:30-11:30 a.m. – Rose Pruning: Learn the right way to prune roses: hybrid teas, climbers, & landscape roses. This class will cover the best time of year to prune, the right tools, and techniques for ensuring healthy, long lasting roses. Taught by Keith Dekker.

12:30-2:30 p.m. – Rehabilitative Pruning: This class covers how to restore the natural shapes of trees and shrubs that have been mal-pruned. Students attending this class should already be familiar with principles of selective pruning. Included are discussions of water-sprouts, suckers, radical renovation techniques, and crown restoration. Taught by Christina Pfeiffer.