Pruning trees in your yard or landscape is an integral part of maintaining their health and a critical aspect of landscape maintenance. When done correctly, either as a do-it-yourself project or by hiring a tree pruning service company, a well-pruned tree is healthier and more robust than a neglected tree. The key to pruning is knowing when you should or shouldn’t prune, and the actions involved.
It’s vital that you don’t go out into your yard and prune only because you want to shape or cut something down. When pruning, it’s necessary for your subject to have an underlying need for pruning, like curtailing growth or medical needs.
Other credible concerns for pruning are:
There are some times when it is recommended to avoid pruning.
The only exception to these don’ts are any heavily diseased, damaged or dead branches, as they always present an overall danger for the entire tree. However, you shouldn’t prune this wood during wet weather.
Remember that pruning affects a tree’s overall health, so you have to be extremely careful about how much and how you prune. The last thing you want to do is cause irreparable damage.
Your tree is a living, breathing organism that uses its foliage to create energy for growth. Removing leaves by pruning reduces photosynthesis and in turn, reduces growth and stored energy reserves. If a young sapling is heavily pruned, it will have less energy available to create a healthy root system.
Pruning is also stressful on the tree. This stress can slow healthy growth and, if there is a significant amount of branches in need of pruning, keeps the pruning wounds from healing properly. Stress also lowers the tree’s natural defenses against pathogens and other microorganisms, which attack the exposed vascular tissue.
For the tree’s health, you need to keep in mind the 1/3 and 1/4 Rules when removing live branches.
The 1/3 Rule states that the side branches on a tree should have a diameter at least one-third smaller than the tree’s trunk. Once branches become too large, they use significant energy but give very little back to the tree’s growth, so it’s best to take them off.
This rule also applies to how limbs perform best on the tree. You want the branches to be a third (about 33°) away from their trunk, or shoot up at the “ten and two o’clock” positions.
Never go up above 1/3 of the tree’s height when pruning branches off of the main trunk..
The 1/4 Rule dictates the maximum amount of foliage you can remove in a single season—you should never remove more than 25% of the tree. Any more would cause the root system undue stress. It can also lead to water sprout growth, which is structurally unsound.
Under certain circumstances, even 25% is too much material to remove..
If your tree needs heavier pruning, spread it out over a few seasons.
There are also specifics to keep in mind when it comes to the actual cuts, which need to be made correctly to minimize damage to the tree.
When making cuts:
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