August 28, 2014

Tree Pruning

Tree Pruning

The main reason trees are pruned is to increase the health, vigor and appearance of trees.  With a  little knowledge, the sometimes daunting task of tree pruning, when to prune, and the reasons for pruning trees can become a fun and rewarding project.  On the other hand if the tree is large and there is a question of whether you should prune the tree yourself, then the best answer is probably to get some advice from a professional.  The last thing you want to happen is injury to you, the tree, or surrounding areas.

Why tree Pruning?

Pruning can serve many purposes.  Generally ornamental and shade trees are pruned for the health of the tree, the safety of people under and around the tree, as well as over all appearance.  For fruiting trees, pruning is often a necessary performed to improve the growth of the tree and fruit output.

Most important is pruning for safety.  As trees grow and mature certain limbs and branches can generate much of the trees energy, becoming overgrown.  If this continues and the tree can’t support the weight a given branch, then natural pruning occurs.  In this instance a branch will often break and fall to the ground.  When this occurs with large trees, damage or injury many result.  To prevent this remove potential banches before they become to heavy.

Pruning to improve the trees health.  This can include pruning infected, or at risk areas of the tree, as well as crowning to promote light penetration and airflow.  Also, removing branches that rub or cross can improve the tree health by creating less stress on the tree.  It is a good idea to remove old or dead branches.  Even deadwood draws energy away from other ares of the tree.

Pruning to improve appearance.  Many trees are planted to fill a void in a yard and to improve appearance.  If this is the case, might as well get the most out of your trees.  If you prefer the the more traditional look of a tree, this might mean removing the lower branches to give the tree a more lolly pop look.  Or if you want the tree to have more character, removing side limbs may be a beter call.  Regardless of your tastes or goals, pruning will likely help you improve the overall look of the tree.

When Should You Prune?

In general the right time to prune is specific to the various types of trees.  It is typically ok to prune conifers throughout the year.  However, if pruned in the winter while the tree is dormant, there won’t be as much sap flowing to help heal the wound left by the remove limb.

Hardwood trees: that don’t produce flowers, will respond best when pruned in the dormant season.  It is good practice to check up on the cuts from time to time as tree  wounds can attract insects or fungus.

Flowering trees: are best pruned in the dormant season for similar reasons as hardwood tree.  However, these should be pruned right after flowering because the dormant season is when new buds form.

Dead or weak branches can be pruned at any time to help improve the health of a tree.

Up coming Articles:

  • Pruning Cuts
  • Pruning Tools
  • How to Treat wounds from cuts
  • General guides to pruning
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