Pruning Trees 101 is a condensed guide to help you understand the needs of your tree while pruning your tree properly.
Why Prune Your Tree
One of the most common procedures for caring your your tree, is pruning. Pruning is the process by which superfluous branches and twigs are removed from the tree. While pruning your tree, it is vital to keep in mind that each removal must have a cause; unnecessary or improper trimming can result in the growth change of your tree!
Common reasons for pruning are to improve the tree’s form, remove dead branches, and reduce risk. When properly pruned, your tree may gain increased light and air penetration to the inside of the tree’s crown and the landscape below!
When to Prune Your Tree
Routine pruning of your tree can take place during any season, with little to no effect on the tree. Ideally, growth and wound closure are maximized if the pruning takes place before spring’s growth flush.
Avoid heavy pruning of the tree’s “live tissue” just after the spring growth period to avoid stress on the tree. After spring growth the tree has just exhausted energy to produce new leaves and early shoot growth; the healing process after this period will be slower.
Pruning Young Trees Vs. Pruning Mature Trees
Pruning must be done with an understanding of tree biology. Westchester Tree Life’s professional staff of arborists are trained in the proper procedure of tree pruning, and can ensure that your tree is being pruned in the best way possible. Ensuring that your young tree is properly pruned is vital in setting it up for a long, healthy life; properly maintaining your mature tree is just as important.
By properly pruning your young tree from the beginning, you are setting it up to grow with a strong structure and desirable form. Young trees which receive proper pruning will require less corrective pruning when they are older. The goal in training your young tree is to establish a strong central trunk with sturdy branches which are well spaced. Remember that poor pruning can cause lasting damage to a tree!
Making the Cut
When making the cut we cannot stress enough how important it is to have a reason for cutting. Improper cutting can result in the tearing of bark.
To prune your tree, you will need hand pruners, lopping shears, and a pruning saw; be sure to use tools which are sharp and clean. Do not use hedge shears to prune your tree. Once you have evaluated which branches need to be removed, be sure to make your pruning cuts just outside the branch collar. The branch collar contains trunk tissue that should not be damaged or removed.
If you are removing a large tree limb, reduce the weight first. Before you begin cutting, mark an undercut about 12 to 18 inches from the limb’s point of attachment; make another mark to cut a few inches farther out atop the branch. Afterward, remove the stub of the tree limb by cutting back to the branch collar.
Once again, we stress that the improper pruning of both young and mature trees can result in the stress and damage of your tree. If you are unsure how to properly prune your tree, call Westchester Tree Life at (914) 238-0069.