The Importance of Tree pruning
Trees are downright amazing. You know that there are numerous benefits coming from the trees. The most important one is that they are the reason we have breathable air. It’s a known fact that one mature tree gives a day’s supply of air for up to four people. But, trees help us in a lot of amazing and unexpected ways. Apart from our health, they help the environment and the planet overall. They are habitats for all kinds of species and they help clean our drinking water.
However, simply admiring trees sometimes isn’t enough. You wouldn’t want to plant a tree which would do more harm than good on your property. That is why tree pruning is essential. You need to take care of the tree so it can take care of you. Carefully cutting parts of it to make it look better and reach the desired appearance are a key factor in professional tree pruning. But, who says that you can’t do it too. We’ll give you a few tips that will help you with the essentials when it comes to pruning and how to do it.
When To Prune
The most common question that you ask yourself is when to prune. And, the answer to this question depends largely on why you prune. You can do light pruning anytime. The same goes for removing dead wood. However, if that is not your goal, and you have something specific set in your mind, we’ll give you a few guidelines. Of course, you should recognize that individual species may differ and that is important to remember.
There are a few reasons for pruning in the summer period. The first one is to direct the growth by slowing the branches that you don’t want. This is also called to “dwarf” the development of a tree or branch. If that is your goal, then you should prune soon after seasonal growth is complete. The primary reason for this slowing effect is that you significantly reduce the total leaf surface. Reducing the leaf surface also reduces the amount of food manufactured and sent to the roots. On the other hand, tree pruning in the summer can also be done for corrective purposes. In the summer period, you can easily see defective limbs and limbs that hand down too far under the weight of the leaves.
As well as tree pruning in the summer, pruning in the winter has certain benefits too. It is the most common practice which results in new growth in the following months. If your desired effect is to achieve a vigorous burst of new growth, then you should definitely prune during dormancy. The best time to do this is right after the coldest part of winter has passed. Several species, such as walnuts, birches and maple may “bleed” when the sap begins to flow. This is not in any way harmful and will cease when the tree leafs out.
If your pruning preference is to enhance flowering then:
- For trees that bloom in the spring, prune when their flowers fade
- For trees and shrubs that flower in mid to late summer, prune in winter or early spring
When not to prune – Fall
Leaving your pruning tools in the storage is a good idea during fall. Decay fungi spread their spores profusely in the fall. That means that the healing of wounds is slower on fall on cuts. Wait a few months and do your business when the time comes.
Keys For Good Tree Pruning:
- Firstly, begin a visual inspection at the top of the tree and work downward.
- For most species, the tree should have a single trunk. Identify the best leader and later branches before you begin pruning and remove defective parts before pruning for form.
- You don’t need to worry about protecting pruning cuts. For aesthetics, you may feel better painting large wounds but it doesn’t prevent or reduce decay.
- You should always keep your tools sharp. One-hand pruning shears with curved blades work best on young trees.
- For high branches you should use a pole pruner. A major job on a big tree should be done by a professional arborist.
- For larger branches, cut outside the branch bark and ridge collar (swollen area). Do not leave a protruding stub. If the limb is too small to have formed a collar cut close.
- When simply shortening a small branch, make the cut at a lateral bud or another lateral branch. Favor a bud that will produce a branch that will grow in desired direction (usually outward). The cut should be sharp and clean and made at a slight angle about a quarter of an inch beyond the bud.
- Use the one third and one quarter Rules of Pruning
- You should never remove more than a quarter of a tree’s crown in a season
- Ideally, the best thing to consider is that the main side branches should be at least one third smaller than the diameter of the trunk.
- On the other hand, for most deciduous (broadleaf) trees, don’t prune up from the bottom any more than one third of the tree’s total height.
- And finally, where possible, try to encourage side branches that form angles that are one third off vertical that form “10 o’clock” or “2 o’clock” angles with the trunk.