Reasons to Prune your Trees

You may be curious as to why you would need to prune your trees. There are a variety of reasons for Tree Pruning including:

  • Removal of diseased or dead limbs
  • Thinning for better air circulation to the crown
  •  Shaping
  • Reducing the height of the tree
  • Remove obstructions
  • Improving structural integrity

These are some of the common reasons, but there are many more. Like many things, starting pruning in a new tree early can reduce the need of pruning later on in life. Pruning can help the tree live longer if done right, and can be detrimental otherwise. Thinning a young tree for more air circulation is usually done to assist in the growth of the tree, and to help keep it healthy and structurally strong. Pruning a tree properly not only requires the correct technique when cutting, it also requires a deep knowledge of how a tree grows and recovers from wounds. Additionally, knowing the correct time of year to prune your tree can speed the healing process and deter unwanted disease pathogens from entering the open wound.

Improper technique in pruning leaves your tree open to disease, which can cripple and destroy a tree. Here is the proper direction for pruning the desired tree limb.

Step one: Your first cut. This is easily the most important cut you will make. About a foot away from the base of the limb you are cutting, Cut from the underside of the branch about one third into it.

Step two: Go out about another from your first cut. Start this cut from above the limb and run all the way through. The branch is very likely to snap, from its own weight, before your cut is complete. Typically this would result in the bark being ripped off beyond the branch itself and into the trunk, leaving a gaping wound open to infection from parasites. This is where the original cut comes in. it keeps the bark from tearing beyond repair.

Step three: Now the weight of the branch is out of the way and it is safe the cut the base of the limb off of the trunk of the tree. Only cut where the branch meets the trunk and leave the flair of the branch intact. If cut properly this will heal over and fill in with new bark, protecting the tree once again.

Knowing the correct time of year to have your trees pruned is another important factor for the health of your tree. Disease pathogens can be the final nail in the coffin of your tree. Knowing how to combat these pathogens is a necessity. One of the best ways to fight them off is by pruning in the right season of the year. The best time for this is in the late fall to late winter when these pesky diseases are dormant, making them less of a risk in damaging your trees. On the other hand, these pathogens thrive during warmer months. By making these cuts during this time you are making an obvious home for them.