Professional Tips for Pruning Trees

There are as many reasons to prune a tree as there are individual species and circumstances. Sometimes it is necessary because wind has broken off a branch. Leaving a partial branch after the break is not ideal for the tree’s health and they’re unsightly. Where your property has trees, it may be a matter of safety. Branches too close to the house, especially if they overhang the roof, can break off during the next wind storm and puncture the roof or walls.

Even beyond these emergency situations, there are reasons to prune in order to maximize the tree’s welfare or to produce better flowering or increase fruit production.

In heavily forested property, trees will grow better if they’re pruned. Trees over about 10 years old compete with others for sunlight, soil nutrients, water and space. Cutting large branches allows each tree to receive a share of the available air and sun. If trees are closer than 10 feet from one another, you may want to remove some entirely.

Fruit trees, apple in particular, do much better when they have been pruned. A mature apple tree can produce an overabundance of criss-crossing branches. As they produce leaves, too many will block sunlight from others. As they bear fruit, a superabundance of branches will produce more small fruit. You may prefer a smaller number of larger fruit. Pruning can achieve that.

The best methods for pruning a tree will vary from species to species, so research your specific types before beginning. That will also help you to select and prepare the proper tools. In most cases, though, the basics remain the same from one species to another.

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If you need to allow more space and sunlight, you’ll want to carry out what is called ‘crown thinning’. The crown is the total ‘bushy’ portion of the tree formed by the branches. This is distinguished from the stem, which is the central portion.

Cutting back large branches, especially near the base, will help sunlight to reach the lower levels and provide walking area under the tree. This can usually be carried out with pruning shears or an ordinary saw. Larger branches can best be pruned with a chainsaw.

Removing branches from higher up the tree is a task best left to experts. Anything that requires more than a 10-foot ladder with a long pole saw to reach represents a risk most people should avoid.

Branches larger in diameter than about 10cm should be removed with a chainsaw. Some electric chainsaws would have difficulty with branches that thick, so a gas-powered version will probably be required.

If you can support the branch while cutting that is best. That should never be done with a chainsaw, however, since you always want to have both hands on the saw. To avoid the branch breaking prematurely or ripping bark off the stem, make a cut further away from the stem, then just past the ridge forming the branch collar at the stem.

Cut up from the bottom on the first cut to prevent bark from being torn down the tree, exposing it. After removing the branch, most trees will heal themselves. If your area is prone to beetle or other insect infestations, you may want to use tree tar to seal the wound. If you find it tough to do it by yourself, you can always hire a professional tree service to ensure the execution of the perfect job.

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