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How to Prune Trees the Right Way

If you have trees you know how important is to keep them healthy and looking great. The proper pruning techniques are going to help remove unwanted growth while encouraging new growth for proper tree structure. Today I’m going to show you how to prune your trees and do it right.

The best time of year to prune your trees really depends on the type of tree and the results you’re looking for. In general pruning during the dormant season is typically best, particularly at the end of fall and early spring allows time to heal and commonly results in new growth during spring pruning and summer after growing season will result in slowing the growth of the tree by reducing the leaf surface.

If you’d like to enhance flowering pruning the spring after the flowers have faded and the leaves are fully formed for the summer blooming trees prune in the winter or early spring. However, dead broken or diseased limbs should be cut immediately. Now that you know when to prune, let’s get into the best way to do the job right starting with the tools you’ll need. scissor cut shears are good for light pruning, loppers, a pruning saw, and a pole saw get the job done on larger branches. electric and gas powered pole saws are available to make cutting even easier.

You’re going to want to make sure all your saw blades are sharp for the best results. sharpening tools like this file are available. You’ll need a ladder gloves and of course safety glasses. And if you’re working under large limbs, you’re going to want to wear a hard hat. Safety is critical when working with trees. Before you get started. Look for hanging limbs and power lines.

Call a professional if your tree is near power lines. Never operate a chainsaw while standing on a ladder and don’t stand on or above the wrong noted on the safety label. As for hanging limbs, they can cause damage or injury if they fall, so remove those first, look closely for damaged or diseased branches and remove them the tree needs to allocate energy towards new growth and healthy branches. thoroughly check your tree for the following problems that will require the help of an arborist look for decayed or hollowed out wood and check around the tree trunk for peeling bark. also inspect the roots.

If you see raised soil or bare roots, it can indicate an unstable root system and tree. As you can see, the mulch here is mounted too high. This can cause decay around the root flare as well as promote girdling roots girdling is when roots wrap around and squeeze the main trunk. Step back and get a big picture view of your tree. Then decide how you want it to grow. Find the strong leader branches, those giving the tree its structure and determine the branches to cut.

The size of the tree determines how many limbs you can remove. You shouldn’t remove more than 25% of a small young tree and no more than 10% of a large older tree. Now let’s get into the interior pruning. find any branches that are downward pointing and branches crossing one another. These will often cause damages they rub together wearing or rubbing a weak spot and overtime braking. Another common issue is when two branches form of the crotch.

You’ll want to remove one side to prevent the branches from becoming weak. When these branches grow, they’re essentially competing or growing against each other weakening the tree. When pruning, cut a slight angle about a quarter inch beyond the bud or limb. If you have a large limb, use a handsaw or pole saw, it’s helpful to start your cuts away from the trunk removing small sections at a time.

Now if you get a branch that’s over an inch in diameter, you’re going to want to make a three point cut to avoid tearing the bark first cut a quarter way through the underside of the limb a few inches away from the trunk. Then about an inch past the first cut will cut through the limb on the top side. The limbs weight will cause it to break between the two cuts.

Finally, the third cut will be just outside the branch bark Ridge the top section. The bottom is called the branch collar. This is the flared base of the branch. Cut downward and outward close to perpendicular to the limb. The Final Cut will be made as close to the tree as possible without damaging the collar. err on the side of caution and leave it a little bit longer than check with an arborist to see if a sealer is necessary. As the tree ages it will close over the cut.

Another aspect of tree maintenance is to remove water sprouts in suckers. Water sprouts are small vertical limbs growing from dominant branches. Some sprouts are okay because you don’t want to have a bear limb with leaves only at the end. suckers are small trees growing from the base of the trunk. Both take nutrients from the tree.

Simply use scissor cut shears to remove them. Focus on pruning that encourages new growth and the directions you desire. And for more flowers or fruit it’s important to understand how the tree grows. A terminal bud at the end of the branch produces hormones that slow the growth of lateral buds along the side of the chute these lateral buds

Add bulk or bushiness to the tree waiting until the shoot is long enough or clipping the terminal bud will encourage growth of lateral buds and add bulk to the tree. Pruning your trees regularly will ensure their health for years to come.

Here’s where to learn more
How to Prune, trim and Shape Shrubs

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