Why You Need To Prune Yourself This Spring

Everything has seasons, and we have to be able to recognize when something's time has passed and be able to move into the next season. Everything that is alive requires pruning as well, which is a great metaphor for endings" - Henry Cloud

Photo courtesy of Llafano via Compfight

For most of the country, this winter has been horribly cold, brutally windy, and the snow hasn't stopped. As I look out the window right now there is a mixture of snow and sleet. It's bleak and I feel like spring will never arrive! Most of us in cold climates are itching to get outside and enjoy warmer weather and melted snow. For gardeners, this is the calm before the storm. It's time to start planting seeds inside, draw up vegetable garden plans, make dream lists of new plants to add, online plant orders to execute, and time to prune. Yup. Even though the snow may be a few feet deep it's the best time of the year to prune your trees and shrubs. Bundle up and get out outside.

While it would be great to plop trees and shrubs into the ground and forget them, you can't. They need regular pruning to remove dead branches, control growth, and maintain their shape. Few plants tolerate an absence of attention after they are planted. Can you blame them? Pruning reinvigorates, spurs growth, and prepares trees for the future. Why would anyone want to plunge out into the winter air and prune? Now? There's several reasons why you SHOULD prune now - here's why:

  • Trees are dormant now and they won't suffer shock when pruned.
  • The sap in most trees doesn't flow at all (or much) now.
  • Pruning now means fewer chances of the tree or shrub contracting a disease. Ditto for insect problems.
  • The cold ensures that there is less hormone disruption within the tree.
  • There's less active sugar in trees/shrubs right now than when they are leafed out so the chances of weakening the tree is less.
  • Winter pruned trees are ready to jump into growth mode when spring arrives. They start the season stronger and more vigorous.
  • Pruning now enhances flowering and growth months from now.
  • You can easily see the tree structure now. You can prune crossed branches and see the dead wood.
  • You can work slow and meander around the tree to examine it's shape without distraction. You may avoid hacking trees/shrubs to nothing like my Mother once did - repeatedly.

Get outside now and start pruning. It's great exercise, fresh air will invigorate you, and your trees will thank you in a few months!

"The tree of life is self pruning" - Joel Determan

People are in many ways just like trees. Some of our needs are the same - survival - we are just a bit more demanding in our care. Just as a tree needs pruning, you need to "prune" from time to time to jump start your personal growth. This is a perfect time of year to get busy because by now you have forgotten your New Year's resolutions or thrown them out completely. Spring is a time of fresh growth, calmness, and beauty - don't YOU deserve to experience a healthy growing season?

There are some simple steps in planning your growth. Hopefully you already have a shimmer of an idea of what you need to be healthy  and flourish. Here's a 3 step plan to get you started on achieving your goals and growing to your potential:

  1. Craft a personal mission statement. This defines who you are, your values, what you stand for, what you need, you ultimate goal. You are your own company with a brand that you need to manage. You can't do that without a mission statement. This is the big picture of you.
  2. Plan your strategy. Just as we need a plan as to why, how, and when to prune a tree you need the same. You need to look at your existing "structure" and take the steps necessary to prepare and guide your own growth.
  3. You need a "gardener" to foster your growth and guide you. Find a mentor or coach to help you throughout your growth and journey through life. We benefit from relying on the skills and advice of a masterful gardener. Who is yours?
In addition to your 3 step plan it's critical to be mindful every day of how you really do periodically need to be pruned. Here's some key ideas to help guide you in your growth:

P - POSITIVE: Be positive inside and out. Your world will change. You will change others.

R - RESPECT: Be open and mindful of the thoughts and characteristics of those around you. Respect yourself too!

U - UNIQUE: Remember that you are one of a kind. You have a purpose on this earth and no one can duplicate you.

N - NIMBLE: Always be ready to jump at opportunities. Look for ways to grow and respond.

E - ENTREPRENEURIAL: You are the CEO of you. Be  mindful of the decisions that you make. Make your world flexible and always be mindful of making changes and developing "your" company - YOU.

Are you ready to get out there and "prune"? What if you don't..... Are you ready for the consequences?