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the difference between pinching & pruning

In our group I am sometimes asked that question, and I'm not sure that I have the best answer. That's why I am asking here. :oops:

We all know that pruning is done with scissors or pruners and that pinching refers to the use of the fingertips - but when is one better than the other, and why?, particularly in reference to J. maples? How about other species?

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As you eluded to pinching and pruning are to total different procedures.

Simply put:

Pinching is a procedure best used to address the removal of new tender growth... i.e. bud removal or newly emerging vegetation that has not hardened off.

Pruning is a procedure preformed with a mechanical device to remove hardened or lignified growth. Pruning is not a gentle technique as is pinching. Pruning is used for branch removal, defoliation, etc.
Cheers, Tom

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Hi Tom,
Junipers need finger prunning as they don't like the feel of steel scissors, if scissors are used they turn brown where they have been cut.
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Thanx guys,
I guess I was referring more to the "effect" that the two methods achieve or the end result. Not about branch removal, but about backbudding, forcing new growth.
With pruning of woody growth you would be shortening the length of the the branch, shortening internodes, thickening the overall appearance, and creating a tapered growth pattern.
Pinching results in finer foliage and keeping the branch 'in check' once the branch has grown out to the length that you want.
Am I correct? Comments (corrections) welcomed.

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Re: the difference between pinching & pruning

Hi Tom M

some time later

Thanks for your explanation of the different impact on plant development that pinching or pruning has. Solid edges or frayed ends... I've no real experience with plants but it makes sense from a product design/engineering/ergodic-ware perspective.


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Re: the difference between pinching & pruning

If you try to pinch a hardened branch is will not come off nicely or evenly. You can only pinch new growth. You can prune new new growth for form (shearing) or pinch to create fullness and check branch length. On older wood you can only prune.
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