We could not stress more on the importance of pruning for the overall health of a tree. Pruning is a useful maintenance tool to keep a tree in good health and shape. Landscape trees, unlike the ones in the forest, require human intervention when it comes to maintaining their structural integrity and beauty. One should not perform pruning without the necessary know-how of the process because it can only lead to the tree’s deterioration. Improper pruning can have adverse effects on the tree and even result in its death.
Reasons for Pruning
Every cut you make on a tree has the power to help it thrive or damage its health. For this reason, you should never prune without the right intention. Pruning is usually done to eliminate dead, dying, and damaged branches. It’s also performed to enhance the shape of the tree and reduce safety risks. Another reason for pruning is to improve light penetration and air circulation within the branches at the tree’s crown. For mature trees, they are typically pruned to prevent them from causing damage to your property with their weak branches.
When to Prune
If your reason for pruning is to eliminate dead, weak, diseased, or damaged branches, you can do it at any given time of the year without worrying that it will have adverse effects on the tree. The rule of thumb is, prune the tree before the spring breaks to help the tree heal its wounds.
Oak wilt and other tree diseases can be easily spread among trees, which is why it is crucial to prune them at the right time, using the proper method. Trees that are vulnerable to diseases should not be pruned when disease-causing agents are active.
There are several pruning techniques that you can use to ensure that your tree is in a healthy, pleasing, and safe state.
- Cleaning is one of the basic types of pruning. It intends to remove dead, dying, and diseased branches from the crown of a tree.
- Thinning is mainly performed to improve the structure of the tree and allow better air and light penetration. If done properly, it lightens the crown, keeps the natural shape of the tree, and opens the foliage of the tree.
- Raising is done to provide clearance for vehicles, pedestrians, and power lines. It can be achieved by removing branches at the lower half of the tree.
- Reduction aims to reduce the tree’s size. It can be done by eliminating leader branches and other branches that are large enough to be a primary branch. This is a better alternative to topping because it keeps the structural soundness and the shape of the tree intact.
Pruning Young Trees
Correct pruning is crucial for the tree’s health and structural soundness. When you start pruning your tree in their early years, they will need less pruning as they age. It is important to establish the leader branch while the tree is young. Scaffold branches, or limbs, are considered the tree’s skeleton. If you have trees that are appropriately pruned early on, they will develop with a structure, and they will require less pruning later on. Keep a leader branch in a young tree. This branch should be growing in an upward direction. Never allow secondary branches to outgrow this leader branch.
In general, palms are pruned to remove dead or hazardous fronds. You can have your palms pruned twice a year. In the case of coconuts, they can be pruned every quarter to eliminate risks of injury. Keep the healthy fronds intact and never over prune them. Over pruning can attract pests and pathogens that can lead to your palms’ deterioration.
Don’t Top Trees!
Topping is a taboo pruning technique that you should never do to your tree. However, there are still some who practice this harmful pruning technique to their trees. Topping causes severe damage to the structure and overall health of the tree, which leads to its eventual death. It is also known as “heading” and “rounding over.”
Alternatives to Topping
There are instances when a tree’s height or width should be reduced to provide clearance for vehicles or power lines. To shorten a large limb, you should prune it to a lateral branch that is large enough to be the leader branch. Small branches should be pruned from their origin.
If you will require to make significant cuts, it is better to have the tree removed altogether because it may not survive the large wounds from pruning.it is best to replace it with a more desirable tree that fits the climate and your location.