Ask an Arborist: The ABC’s of Pruning

Proper tree maintenance is vital to keeping your trees healthy throughout their lives. Thankfully, there are a couple of things you can do to keep your tree healthy and also keep your environment safe from damage caused by overgrown branches. One of these maintenance practices is pruning which helps to remove old branches, promote vigor, and improve the tree structure. However, to get the benefits of pruning, it’s crucial that it’s done expertly. Most times, it’s best to call arborists like the tree pruning experts at Tree Service, Inc to handle your pruning, trimming, and other tree maintenance services.

These tree experts have a comprehensive understanding of tree biology, they are skilled in handling trees, and they have the right tools and equipment. Nevertheless, it’s also important that you understand the basics of pruning so that you monitor your trees accordingly and can ensure that your tree receives good maintenance services. In light of this, we’ll focus on the rules and regulations of tree pruning in this article. We’ll discuss the ABCs of pruning so that you can learn the essentials of tree care techniques.

The Guide To Tree Pruning

Step 1: Assess the tree

The letter A in ABC’s of pruning means Assessment. Before you decide to prune your tree, it’s important that you take a closer look at the tree. This will help you understand the present condition of the tree. Start by analyzing how the tree is growing; Is it healthy? Does it look malnourished? Is it growing in a favorable direction?

When you have the answers to the above questions, you’ll also need to understand the type of tree species you’ve planted. Also, you’ll need to determine the clear purpose of planting the tree; will it be an ornamental tree or a shade tree? The answers to all these questions will guide you in pruning correctly.

Step 2: Bad Branches needs to go

The B letter in ABC’s of pruning stands for Bad Branches. The bad branches, whether dead, diseased or damaged, need to be removed to give room for new growth. When you’re cutting the bad branches, make sure you don’t damage the healthy ones. You can start by removing the branches that are loosely attached to the tree. Make sure to cut back the branches towards the direction you want them to grow. This way, you’re controlling the regrowth and improving the structure of the tree. Avoid cutting a branch if you’re unsure whether it’s healthy or damaged; you can always trim that area later.

Step 3: Competing branches should be removed or reduced

Once you’re done removing the bad branches, proceed to prune out competing branches. Competing branches can be in the form of Co-dominant stems or competing lateral branches. Co-dominant stems are stems that grow out of the same point and have the same diameter. These stems often appear fine, but they tend to fail more than other branches. Also, they can be a potential danger, especially in a storm. To avoid the problems that accompany co-dominant stems, endeavor to prune one of the stems. Be sure to prune it in a way that won’t cause the formation of decay in the pruned area. Competing lateral branches are those branches that originate from different points but try to outgrow the leading stem. It’s always best to prune out such branches to allow for better tree structure and aesthetics.

In addition, there are some branches that cross and rest on each other. These branches can rub against each other and, over time, cause significant damage to each other. If you’ve got branches growing in a way that could lead to crossing, prune one of them.

General Tips For Pruning Trees

To ensure successful pruning, here are some general tips to keep in mind:

Prune trees during the dormant season

The best time to prune trees is during their dormant season, typically in late winter. During this period, the trees are least susceptible to damage and are more likely to heal properly. You can also prune during the summer but make sure you do it expertly.

Use proper tools

The tools you use can dictate whether or not the pruning will harm the tree. Hence, it’s always best to use the right tools, such as sharp pruning shears, loppers, and saws, to make clean cuts and avoid damaging the tree.

Follow proper pruning techniques

Cut just outside the branch collar, which is the slightly swollen area where the branch meets the trunk, to avoid damaging the trunk. Also, avoid pruning too close to the trunk, as this can damage the tree’s bark and make it more susceptible to disease.

Finally, make sure to call a professional to ensure that your trees are pruned properly and not damaged due to pruning.

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