Proper Pruning of Healthy and Beautiful Landscape, Shrubs, and Small Trees with Rick Smith, the Pruning Guru

Rick Smith has a long history with the landscape industry in the state of Georgia. From 1982 — 1997 he worked at Post Properties. In 2002 he founded his company, The Pruning Guru Inc. In 2004 Rick became Georgia and Alabama Certified Landscape Professional, both programs are administered through UGA and Auburn, respectively.

From 2006 to 2011 Rick served on the board of directors for MALTA (Metro Atlanta Landscape & Turf Association and as the President for 2010. Rick has done numerous regional presentations at industry workshops and for educational institutions on the subject of pruning. Rick also was integral in filming the two SuperCrew videos, part of our UGA series on employee training. Rick currently serves as the Chairperson of the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional advisory board.

Last, Rick holds a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Choi Kwang Do and he is also is a Head Instructor in Choi Kwang Do.

Introduction and Background

The video features Rick Smith, a landscape professional with extensive experience in the industry, including founding his company, the Pruning Guru, in 2004. He has a background in landscape horticulture and has worked with various plants, including trees and shrubs.

Importance of Pruning

Pruning is crucial for maintaining plant health, enhancing their appearance, and ensuring they grow in the desired shape and size. It involves removing dead, damaged, or diseased plant tissue, increasing flowering and fruiting, and training plants to a particular size or shape.

Pruning Techniques

Rick Smith emphasizes the importance of proper pruning techniques, including cutting to a lateral or leaflet to direct new growth, and avoiding hand pruning as it can lead to excessive growth and disease. He also discusses the use of specific tools, such as Falco’s pruners and bypass pruners, for effective pruning.

Pruning Tools

The video highlights the importance of using the right tools for pruning, including hand clippers, anvil clippers, two-bladed bypass clippers, loppers, hedge shears, and pruning saws. Each tool has its specific use and is essential for different types of pruning tasks.

Safety and Precautions

Rick Smith stresses the importance of safety when pruning, including being cautious of insects, diseases, and hazardous conditions in the field. He also advises against pruning in a hurry and using the right tool for the job.

Pruning Specific Plants

The video covers pruning techniques for various plants, including hydrangeas, crepe myrtles, azaleas, roses, and others. It provides specific advice on when and how to prune these plants to maintain their health and appearance.

Pruning Disasters and Mistakes

Rick Smith warns against common pruning mistakes, such as cutting too much, cutting in the wrong direction, and not properly sealing wounds. He also discusses the consequences of these mistakes, including increased disease risk and damage to the plant.


The video concludes with a reminder of the importance of proper pruning practices for maintaining healthy and beautiful landscapes. Rick Smith encourages viewers to learn and apply these techniques to ensure the longevity and health of their plants.

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