How to Prune a Tree

If you want lovely trees, proper pruning is one crucial step to making it happen. However, it can be overwhelming if you don’t have any background experience, and you have no idea how it’s done. So, what should you do?

First of all, make sure that the job you plan to do is something you can tackle. If we’re talking about a small ornamental plant, no more than 25 feet, go for it! But if it’s a more massive tree with stout branches, it’s best to leave it to an expert.

Pruning encourages growth with an end goal of helping the tree thrive on being strong, healthy, and grow in the right direction. So, when you should keep in mind that the first few cuts are to help promote good health and followed by pruning to improve the shape and appearance of the tree. The timing should also be considered when pruning. Most professionals suggest doing it when the tree is dormant, or in the late winter.

Below are some principles you should remember when pruning your tree, according to a certified arborist:

Plan the Biggest Cuts First

You can use multiple colored tapes to mark the branches, so you would know what needs to be cut and kept. The goal is never to cut more than one-third of the Tree’s canopy because it can be detrimental to its health. Mark branches that compete with leader branches, dead or damaged ones, rubbing branches, as well as water sprouts that take up much space in the tree’s interior. Using a pole saw, you can make the biggest cut in the largest branch.

Saw Off Fat Branches in Three-Cuts

Follow the three-cut part principle when cutting big branches. Use a pruning saw to cut a branch that is three inches or more in diameter. A branch like this will fall on its own before the saw even gets its way through. This can cause damage to good wood and stuck the saw if the branch is cut from under it. To avoid scenarios like this, start by cutting six inches from where you want your final cut to be, away from the trunk.

Remove the Stub

Cut the six-inch stub at an angle slightly above the collar to allow water to shed.

Leave the Tree to Heal Itself

After pruning, you practically don’t need to do anything about the tree’s wound because it will improve on its own. Sometimes, trying to help the tree by putting a dressing on the wound is counterproductive and can cause more harm than good. It has its way of healing, so let it take its time.

Remove Suckers at the Base

Get rid of the offshoots you see at the bottom of the trunk because they take away from the beauty of your tree and draw off nutrients from healthy parts that are more likely to produce fruits and flowers. For thin suckers, bypass hand pruners or loppers can do the trick. For suckers that are crowded in one area, you can use a pruning handsaw making sure not to harm the bark on the trunk which can lead to disease.

Cut Close to the Branch Collar

Position the blade outside the branch collar or the area where a branch rises. After the cut is made, the tree will release hormones that will help the collar to grow. It will aid the natural healing process of the wound as the collar seals it.

Cut Water Sprouts

Water sprouts should be taken care of while they’re still young and small. These shoots tend to grow vertically and crowd the tree’s interior. This can be done using loppers that can make it easier for you to reach the upper limbs.

Remove Inward-Growing and Rubbing Branches

Make sure to cut branches that grow or curve inwardly. If you don’t, they will eventually harm every branch it crosses by rubbing. Further, it grows towards the center of the tree, so it means it wouldn’t get enough sunlight to yield flowers or even healthy leaves.

Enjoy the Spring Bloom

A tree that is correctly pruned will make the tree produce more leaves, flowers, and even fruits. Although it used to have sparse bloom in its first year, it’s now ready to flourish, thanks to proper pruning. Your tree would look much healthier and have better form and structure. Aside from physical benefits pruning can bring, it will also make the tree more robust and less vulnerable to storm and ice damage.

 

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