How and Why to Prune a Tree

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Did you know that well-pruned mature trees can increase the value of your property by up to 15% or more? Whether you’re thinking of selling your property or not, surrounding it with healthy foliage creates a beautiful setting for your home.

If you have trees on your property but aren’t pruning them, you could be missing out on some great benefits. But how and why should you prune a tree?

Keep reading this quick guide to find out if tree pruning should be on your yard maintenance to-do list.

Why Prune a Tree?

Whether you have fruit trees, ornamentals, or a collection of native trees, tree maintenance, including pruning has many benefits for the tree and its owner.

Promote Tree Growth

Removing struggling branches helps to re-direct energy, nutrients, and light to healthy branches improving their growth. Healthy re-growth will start on the previously cut area once it has healed. Increasing light exposure and air circulation are great for overall tree health too.

Encourage Fruit & Flower Production

Removing dead ends and diseased branches will promote the growth of spurs- the parts that produce fruit! Pruning helps to ensure maximum nutrients are getting to healthy branches to give you beautiful flowers and fruit to enjoy.

Protect From Storm Damage

A well-pruned healthy tree is strong and well-balanced, making it less at risk from storm damage. Trees with weak, diseased, or overreaching branches are more likely to break and fall during storms causing expensive damage.

Prevent & Treat Disease

Just like animals, trees can get sick with a variety of diseases and pests, most of which spread quickly. Pruning is an effective way to treat diseased trees and control pests.

Reduce Safety Hazards

Neglected branches can grow over power lines, and buildings and roots can grow inside pipes and under landscape work. It’s a good idea to make sure your neighbors prune their trees to avoid damage to your property because you would pay for the damages.

How to Prune a Tree

Pruning trees isn’t just about cutting branches; there are specific methods and techniques for different results.

Pollarding reduces the height of the tree to promote appealing bushy foliage. Topiary is the art of pruning trees into decorative shapes, figures and animals.

Some helpful pruning tools include:

  • Hand shears
  • Lopping saws
  • Pruning saws
  • Pole pruners
  • Chainsaws

Pruning Dos

Start cutting branches from the underside about 1.5ft away from the base using a saw. Pruning cuts should be at a 45º angle and stopped at the midway point.

The second cut should be from the top, also at 45º, to stop pooling water which promotes disease. Cut about an inch away from the first cut and continue cutting until the branch falls.

To encourage proper healing, cut a 45º angle at the branch collar. This is further down the stub, recognized by a swelling and rough bark.

If you’re not experienced in pruning trees, it’s best to hire a professional and trusted tree arborist to take care of them for you.

Pruning Don’ts

Topping is a severe removal of the larger branches leaving only the stumps on show. This can lead to tree starvation, decay, and regrowth of weak branches.

Over-pruning the smaller branches and leaves can lead to lions tailing and weak branches resulting in unsafe, ugly trees.

Care for Your Trees With Professional Tree Services

Knowing how and why to prune a tree is a great start to caring for your trees. Treat your trees to the proper care they deserve with professional tree services.

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