Do you need to prune that tree in your front yard? Periodic tree trimming and pruning helps your trees look their best, keeps them healthy, and prevents them from posing a safety hazard to others.
Three Reasons You Should Trim or Prune Your Trees
Safety is perhaps the most important reason for trimming trees. Dead and broken branches are dangerous and likely to fall at any time, posing a safety risk to bystanders or nearby structures.
If growing near or hanging over a road, falling branches also pose a hazard to drivers and vehicles, and are also liable to damage nearby power lines. Decaying and hollow parts of the trunk, or of large limbs, as well as excessively peeling bark and raised soil around the roots, can be the signs of a potentially dangerous tree.
Sick and infected trees can sometimes be saved if damaged limbs are carefully trimmed away. A tree’s health can also be greatly improved by the increased airflow that results from trimming the crown. Branches that grow across each other, grow inward, or rub against other branches, should be trimmed to keep them from damaging each other and breaking.
In addition, “Suckers“—small trees growing at base of the trunk—and water-sprouts—small branches growing vertically from a larger branch—should be removed, as they tend to steal nutrients away from the tree.
Carefully and deliberately pruning a tree greatly improves its appearance, enhancing the appearance of your yard. Pruning will also help a tree maintain its shape, and help it develop a strong trunk and crown.
Pruning should not cause any serious damage, as long as care is taken to avoid forcing the tree into unnatural or unhealthy shapes by removing too much. Pruning also rejuvenates a tree, and will cause it to grow more flowers in the spring.
Three Tree Trimming Tips
1) It is best to trim away branches while they are still young. They are far easier to work with, and removing them won’t damage the tree as much as removing older and thicker branches possibly could.
2) Try to only trim branches that have v-shaped, narrow angles, as opposed to those with u-shaped angles. These branches are much weaker than those with u-shaped angles, making them more likely to break and cause damage. This, however, also makes them far easier to remove!
3) Be careful with the size of the branches you remove. It is best to avoid removing branches that are thicker than five inches in diameter. Branches thicker than 10 inches in diameter should not be removed unless they pose a safety hazard, as doing so may damage the tree. Also, when you are tree trimming be sure not to cut branches too close to the trunk, or leave them too long either.
Three Tree Pruning Tips
1) Keep lateral branches evenly spaced, to maintain a balanced appearance and allow the tree to grow evenly.
2) Remove branches that are growing across other branches, rubbing against others, or growing inward towards the tree. Also be sure to remove any suckers or water-sprouts.
3) Keep some living branches on at least two-thirds of a tree’s height. Some branches are needed on the bottom half to help the tree grow a strong and sturdy stem.
Best Time for Tree Trimming or Pruning
Trees are best pruned during their dormant season – for most trees, this is late winter and right before spring. This is especially true for trees that bloom in late spring, and for non-flowering trees. It is best to wait until the coldest weather of the winter has passed, but before the sap begins to flow and the tree begins to bloom. This will result in much faster and energetic growth come spring-time!
Summer pruning can also be done in certain cases, if needed to slow or direct the growth of certain branches, or to remove any defective and problem branches that pop up when the tree blooms. If you do decide to prune in the summer, wait until the tree has finished growing for the season.
Pruning should be avoided in the fall, as fungi spreads most rapidly at this time of year, and cuts to the tree also take the longest to heal in the fall. Of course, in the case of hazardous and dead limbs, it is best to remove them as soon as possible, at any time of the year.