A tree may need tree pruning for a spread of reasons : to get rid of sick or storm-damaged branches to thin the crown to allow new expansion and better air movement to reduce the height of a tree to get rid of obstructing lower branches to shape a tree for design purposes Once the choice has been made to prune, your next decision is whether or not to take on the job yourself. In the case of a huge tree where you need to remove big branches in the higher area of the crown, it may be best to hire experts. Large tree pruning, particularly, can need climbing and heavy saws or even cherry-pickers and chain saws. However there are new tools available that may make this a manageable job. ( Click here for more. )

Targeting a Pruning Cut

Whether the tree is large or small, the secret is to prune the unwanted branch while defending the stem or trunk wood of the tree. Tree branches grow from stems at nodes and pruning always happens on the branch side of a stem-branch node. Branches and stems are separated by a lip of tissue called a stem collar which grows out from the stem at the base of the branch. All pruning cuts should be made on the branch side of this stem collar. This protects the stem and the other branches that might be growing from it. It also permits the tree to heal more effectively after the prune. To stop ripping of the bark and stem wood, especially in the case of bigger branches, use the following process : Three steps to pruning huge branches. 1. Make a tiny wedge shaped cut on the underside of the branch just on the branch side of the stem collar. This could break the bark at that point and forestall a tear from running along the bark and stem tissue. two. Somewhat farther along the branch, beginning at the head of the branch, cut all of the way thru the branch leaving a stub end. three. Eventually, make a third cut parallel to and just on the branch side of the of the stem collar to scale back the length of the stub as much as is possible. A similar procedure is used in pruning one of 2 branches ( or one large branch and a stem ) joined together in a ‘u’ or ‘v’ crotch.

This is commonly known as a drop crotch cut. Make the first nick cut on the bottom of the branch you are pruning well up from the crotch. For the second cut, cut completely through the branch from within the crotch well up from the ridge of bark joining the two branches. Ultimately, to shorten the remaining stub, make the third cut just to one side of the branch bark ridge and roughly parallel to it. Should I Seal the Wound? Trees naturally close injuries resulting from branch removal, so ideally, pruning injuries should get left to close without any assistance from you. Also, since most pruning should be done in late fall or winter, insects shouldn’t be much of a problem. However there exist some circumstances when it is preferable to seal the wound with a non-asphalt-based pruning sealer such as Tanglefoot Latex Pruning Sealer. Particularly, you need to seal pruning injuries on trees that are at the mercy of damaging insect infestation such as birch, oak, and elm trees.

Also, if the weather is very dry, a pruning sealer will help the tree keep more moisture. When to Prune For most trees, the quiescent season, late fall or winter, is the perfect time to prune though dead branches can and should be removed at any point. Pruning during the dormant period minimizes sap loss and successive stress to the tree. It also minimizes the risk of fungus infection or insect infestation as both fungi and insects are probably going to be in dormancy at the same time as the tree. Ultimately, in the case of deciduous trees, pruning when the leaves are off will give you a better idea of how your pruning will affect the form of the tree. Some fruiting and flourishing trees should be pruned at other times of the year, depending on whether they flower on the previous year’s growth or not.

After pruning, it is often a good idea to give the tree a good fertilizing so the tree can naturally close the pruning wounds and to cut back the stress placed on the tree. The TreeHelp annual Care Kit is an excellent manure program to boost the overall health of the tree after pruning. don’t prune more that 25% of a tree’s branches. When deciding how much to prune a tree, as little as possible is usually the best rule of thumb.

All prunes place stress on a tree and increase its vulnerability to illness and insects. Never prune more than 25% of the crown and ensure that living branches compose at least 2/3 of the peak of the tree. Pruning more risks fatally causing damage to your tree. In a number of cases, storm damage, height reduction to avoid crowding application lines or perhaps raising the crown to meet civil bylaws, your pruning choices are made for you. But even in these examples, prune as little as you can get away with.

Filed under: Landscaping

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