Tree Pruning

Arbor Tips

Give your trees and plants their best display,

and prevent them outgrowing their space

Pruning is the selective removal or shortening of branches, with the goal of improving the structure, altering the profile or strengthening the health of the tree. Most trees should be pruned every two or three years, but some – particularly fruit trees, crepe myrtles and other ornamental species – respond well to yearly pruning. Additionally, trees that become damaged usually require immediate pruning, regardless of when they were pruned last.

Where to start…

Of course, homeowners can also prune some of their own trees, particularly those that are rather small. Just make sure to keep safety at the forefront of your mind.

  • Use the right tools for the job. Trim pencil-thick branches with a pair of loppers, but use a hand saw to cut broom-stick-thick branches. Larger branches are more difficult to prune, as they require the use of a chainsaw.
  • Decide on a plan of attack before you begin. Identify the branches you wish to prune before starting; don’t simply improvise as you go. This often results in the removal of more than one-third of the canopy, which can weaken the tree. For example, you’ll have different goals when pruning a cherry tree or an apple tree than you will trimming a maple or willow, and your plan should reflect these goals.
  • Place your cuts in the right places. Whenever possible, cuts should be placed just beyond the branch protection zone, which can be identified as the slightly swollen area at the base of most branches.
  • Use the three-cut method to avoid stripping bark from the trunk. Start by cutting half-way through the target branch, about 1 inch outside the branch protection zone. Then cut all the way through the branch from the top side, about 1 inch beyond your original cut. Then, go back and cut the remaining stub off, placing the cut right next to the branch protection zone.

As you can see, there is more to properly pruning a tree than just getting out a saw and hacking into it. If you need any further advice, we would love to offer any help we can. Contact Arbor Tree Surgeons to speak to a tree-pruning professional, who can help your trees look their best and remain healthy for years to come.

The Best Time For

Tree Pruning

You can trim most tree species at any time of year, but winter often offers the best opportunity, as the deciduous trees have shed their leaves, making it easy to see their branch structure. However, some species can “bleed” sap if they are trimmed in the spring, which can be aesthetically unpleasing; and others may be susceptible to pests or pathogens if trimmed in the summer.

In all cases, the wisest course of action is to contact Arbor Tree Surgeons, and let us put you in touch with one of our skilled tree trimmers.

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