Tree Care Basics: How to Properly Prune Your Trees

Although trees can co go on living for decades without any care, a lack of attention can shorten their life span significantly. That’s why so many people are increasingly investing effort, time, and money into taking care of trees on their property.

Tree care is so popular nowadays, that nearly 60% of landscaping companies started offering services like trimming, mulching, and pruning. In today’s post, we’re going to discuss why tree pruning is important, when is the best time to prune trees, and what are some of the best methods to do so.

Why Do You Need to Prune Your Trees?

For every tree you plant, you want it to improve the look of your yard, to keep the air clean, and to live as long as possible. All of this is not possible without the right care. The best way to ensure your trees reach their full potential is to prune their branches on a regular basis.

Pruning focuses on removing old, diseased tree limbs that prevent the entire tree from growing in a healthy way. By opening the canopy, you let the light shine on the entire tree. In turn, this lowers the risk of disease and keeps the tree developing the right way.

Another thing that people seem to ignore is safety. Unhealthy branches can be a danger to your property and your family members. You don’t want a weak branch to fall off during a really windy day and hurt a member of your family, do you?

Tree care is there to help you get rid of these branches before they cause any real damage. Furthermore, it will help the tree grow new and sturdy branches. iEven if you live in an area where strong storms happen all the time, keeping your tree pruned will prevent it from falling over.  

When’s the Best Time for Pruning?

There’s never a wrong time to remove an unhealthy branch. Even the winter weather shouldn’t stop you from cutting down damaged branches that could potentially cause harm to anything or anyone on your property.

With that being said, most professionals feel that pruning is best done when the snow starts melting and the temperature goes up. That means the best time for pruning is in the spring. Of course, it doesn’t mean that if you miss the spring, you should wait for 6 to 9 months to do it.

When it comes to flowering trees, early bloomers like Magnolia, Apricot, and Chokecherry should be pruned in late autumn, before the winter starts. Late bloomers such as Dogwood, Smoke Tree, and Hawthorn should be pruned during the early months of spring.

The Best Tree Pruning Methods

As you might’ve guessed, tree care is not as simple as it looks. There are plenty of ways to approach tree pruning. Here are the pruning methods you should know if you want to keep your tree in great condition:

Pruning Method #1: Thinning

Tree thinning involves cutting both sick and healthy branches to make the crown a lot less dense. Thinning is usually performed on seasoned trees to increase air circulation and sunlight dispersion. What’s more, crown thinning keeps the natural pressure off selected branches. When thinning a tree, your goal isn’t to reshape the tree but to help it grow. That’s why you need to thin every part of the tree equally and remove only around 15% of the branches.

Pruning Method #2: Raising

Raising branches needs to lift the lower branches and keep them from being too close to the ground. That way, you’ll keep the ground clear for traffic. Unlike thinning, branch raising requires some patience. It’s usually performed over a period of a few months. Taking off a couple of inches every week should keep the tree balanced. Removing more than that could potentially weaken the tree and prevent it from staying healthy and strong.

Pruning Method #3: Reduction

Just like thinning, tree reduction is usually used on mature specimens in an effort to strengthen them and prevent them from vanishing too early. Reduction tree care takes place just before winter and removes branches back to growing lateral branches. That way, the branches will become a part of the new crown, when the tree starts growing again in the spring. Basically, the process is there to remove old branches and encourage the tree to grow new ones.

Pruning Method #4: Cleaning

Cleaning is an essential part of tree care. Every tree should be kept clean of broken and dead branches. This method can be performed at any time you want. However, you should clean the crown every time you perform thinning, raising, or reduction. Do it regularly, and it should strengthen the entire tree, from top to bottom. Crown cleaning will prevent any leftover branches from making damage to your property after you’re done with the basic pruning methods.

Hire Tree Care Professionals

Those are a few things you need to do if you want to keep your tree as healthy as possible. Once again, let’s go through what learned today about tree pruning:

  • The crown should be kept thin to de-stress the tree
  • The bottom edge of the tree should be kept high
  • The older the tree, the more branches you should remove
  • The tree should be kept safe from dead and diseased branches

You’re aware that in a certain situation, you won’t have enough time to take care of everything in your home. If you don’t have enough time to keep your trees in order if your yard is too big, you’ll need some help. Try using a professional tree care service near you and keep your property in tip-top condition.

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