Pruning for Your Tree’s Health

A Touch of Class Tree ServicePruning for Your Tree's Health knows the value of trees and why it is so important to be diligent in pruning for your tree’s health at every level of growth. They provide wonderful shade, oxygen to our planet, homes for animals and may even increase your property value if you have beautiful mature specimens in your yard. And let’s not forget that kids love to climb on them and all over them!

As the experts at tree pruning, plant health care, tree maintenance and more, we wanted to provide you with simple guidelines to see how you too can give your trees the best health ever.

The reason we prune is simple, to help a young tree grow strong to maturity, and to help mature trees remain healthy. Pruning also enhances the beauty and shape of a tree and can keep bug infestations at bay. Safety is also a factor in pruning. It’s important to eliminate old dead branches nearby that could crack or break causing injury or damage to property or people.

When to prune is also vital, and you will want to leave this to the professionals if you are unsure. Lightly prune and remove dead wood at any time of the year. Where it gets tricky sometimes, depends on the species of the tree. These are the two seasons in general for pruning, winter and summer pruning.

WINTER: Pruning during dormancy is the most common, resulting in a vigorous burst of new growth in the spring. It is best to wait until the coldest, most severe weather part of winter is over. Some species, including walnuts, maples, and birches, may “bleed” when the sap begins to flow. This is not harmful and will cease when the tree loses its leaves.

SUMMER: Generally, summer pruning is done to slow the development of a tree or branch. Perform soon after the seasonal growth is completed. Reduce food production and nutrition to the roots by reducing the total leaf surface to create the slowing effect. Summer pruning is used for corrective purposes.

FALL: Never prune in the autumn. Decay and fungi will spread their spores profusely in the fall and healing of wounds are slower in the fall. Leave your pruning tools in the shed.

If you do decide to take up this pruning task yourself, it is always important to have good quality and sharp instruments for the job. These can range from, but are not limited to:

  • Bucksaw for large limbs
  • Chainsaw for someone experienced
  • Scissor action secateurs, good for small branches and clean cuts
  • Pruning saws, good for tight spaces
  • Lopping shears, good for larger branches

 

Be sure not to go cheap when purchasing these types of tools. You can save yourself a ton of frustration by buying quality. So now you know the when to prune, why to prune, and what tools to prune with year-round. If you are not going to hire the professionals, then it is wise to follow this 3-step process:

  1. About one or two feet from the tree trunk, make the first cut. It starts on the underside of the limb, goes into it, only about a third of the way. This is a critical step in the process. Do not skip it.
  2. Make the second cut outside of the first cut by another foot or two. Go all the way through the branch. Naturally, the branch will break away as the saw cuts through the limb. But, because the first cut is located on the underside and closer in, the bark will not tear down the tree trunk.
  3. The final cut is made at the branch collar which is where the branch meets the trunk. Look for the flared area here. The flair should be apparent as you make the final cut. It will heal with new bark and scar tissue. A doughnut forms when the tree is healing properly.

 

NEVER TOP TREES. Topping trees is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known, and yet topping remains a common practice. According to the ISA, International Society of Arboriculture, topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or to lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for tree topping include “heading,” “tipping,” “hat-racking,” and “rounding over.” We know that sometimes it is inevitable that a tree needs to be “topped” because of power lines or to reduce the size, there are PROPER ways of doing this, though. It must be done by a professional, so as not to stunt or harm the tree. In severe cases, it is sometimes best to remove the tree altogether and replace it with something more appropriate.

A common saying among landscapers and arborist is, “less is more.” It is important to remember not to prune too much off of a tree at once. Prune the smallest amount possible to achieve the desired effect. Never prune more than ¼ of the crown of a tree, as this is where most of its leaves are and where it gets most of its energy. You run the risk of forever damaging the tree if too much is pruned too rapidly.

So, how much will all this cost if I hire a professional? Well, a reputable company will give you a good, close estimate, which you most certainly should ask for, but in general, you can look at spending anywhere between $75 to $1000. The size of the tree will usually determine the cost and the difficulty. Extra costs can also be incurred because of the location, the last time it was pruned, accessibility, the health of the tree, and how remote your location is. It may seem costly at first, but in the long run, you will save time and money by letting a company like A Touch of Class Tree Service tend to your trees. Ask about a regularly scheduled maintenance service to help bring costs down.

A Touch of Class Tree Service has years of botanical knowledge and understands the need for pruning for your tree’s health. Get a quote if you have an issue with a mature tree or for any of your landscaping and tree maintenance needs. Trees are important, beautiful and magnificent, so let us all do our part in keeping them healthy!

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