I am admittedly NOT a gardener. Several years ago, Mike and I hired a landscape designer and then dug in the flower beds and pavers ourselves.
I do love the bed in front of our house, it is so pretty to look at when it's flowering outside our picture window in our living room. One of the plants in that bed is a flowering carpet rose. There are maybe 6 plants or so, and each spring, they need to be pruned, trimmed back and shaped. Being the not proficient gardener that I am, I always wait until the plant starts to green so I know where to prune and what to leave.
This year was the first year I noticed that all the new growth was at the base. None of the branches were greening at all. I waited, and waited, and no change. So, 2 weeks ago, I got out there with the shears and pruned all the dead branches off. Stuck with rose thorns, and a pile of brush for our Monday yard trash, I looked at the little tiny growth in the center of each plant, wondering if I had done the right thing, if they had really just taken too much of a beating through the winter, and if they would come back at all this year.
This weekend, I noticed, they are fully back to nearly the size of all the branches I sheared and removed with thick, healthy, leafy new branches. Where there was just 2 or 3 inches of growth 2 weeks ago, now there are branches a foot or 2. When I finished trimming, they were all smaller than the one in the front left.
How can such a dramatic change occur in just 1 week?
Well, as I understand it, a plant has roots that bring in moisture and nutrients and then those are distributed throughout the plant. I'm guessing, and I believe that those roots don't really have any idea what state any of those branches are in, they just pump out an equal amount of moisture and nutrients to all areas of the plant. The dead wood, simply can't absorb it, so it is just going to waste. Once that dead wood is removed, the roots can effectively and efficiently pump all those nutrients to the live healthy areas of the plant and those then thrive and prosper.
What the heck does this have to do with anything?
Pruning is something we have to do in all areas of our lives from time to time. Sometimes we have maybe people in our lives, or aspects of our business that are draining our resources, but simply cannot absorb the nutrients in a healthy way. It feels bad to "cut off" this "dead wood" because we saw it grow to where it is today, and we continue to hope upon hope that it will come back if we continue to pump those nutrients into it.
The truth is the same as that rose bush, dead wood simply cannot absorb anything, and once it is pruned, what remains, even though it may look small and stunted now, can burst into beautiful color and thrive perhaps even larger and brighter than ever before.
As you look around your life or your business as Spring closes and Summer begins, do you see things that could use pruning? Go ahead, grab your shears!