Prudent cuts now lead to robust blossoms

Opinion: Columns

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Richard Kordesh

With the cherry trees resting in a mid-winter sleep, it's a good time to prepare them for their eventual spring awakening.

Pruning shapes the trees' growth; it helps to avoid the unproductive chaos that would result from branches and shoots extending, small and large, in conflicting directions.

Making the right and timely cuts staves off disease and enables a tree to concentrate its nutrients into desirable pathways.

Care of a tree might appear less than inspiring on a frigid, overcast February afternoon, but making the right cuts now increases the robustness of the glorious blossoms that will burst forth in April.

Timely pruning raises the chances of a bountiful harvest. A rich harvest makes it possible to preserve some round, red fruit for jams and pie fillings. They can be thawed for such purposes next winter, even as one again reaches for the cutting tools.

Parents and gardeners both must prune. What you want for your tree — as well as your children — is to reach their full, flowering and productive potential. You hope the young tree, as well as the son or daughter, will establish a solid core and flexible, strong limbs.

Parenting a child navigates seasons, confronts challenges and presents opportunities to encourage growth in fruitful directions.

One can prune too much, and one can prune too little. There is a time for nipping away unwanted habits, for cultivating budding talents, for feeding fertile explorations, for teaching sound techniques, for gathering satisfying results, and for setting aside some of a day's bounty for future experiments.

Guest blogger Richard Kordesh, an Oak Park resident, is the author of "Restoring Power to Parents and Places" and has worked professionally in the community development field for 35 years. Read more on his website,

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