Tree pruning involves the selective removal of certain parts of a tree. For example, branches, buds or roots. It’s purpose is not to destroy the tree but to make well-advised removal of certain parts of a tree that will enable the rest of the tree to flourish with life.
Benefits Of Tree Pruning
A great rule of pruning is no branch should be removed from a tree unless there is a good reason for it to be removed. It is important to understand every single cut can change the growth pattern of a tree. Generally speaking, good reasons for pruning include when there are dead branches to be removed, reducing the damage that falling branches may no to a tree and enhancing the overall appearance and health of the tree. It is vital trees receive light to grow healthily, so a primary goal of effective pruning is to allow more air and light penetration to the crown of the tree (the top) and to any foliage or landscaping below or within the shadow of the tree. On occasion, older trees are pruned as a corrective measure because regular tree thinning is not in itself beneficial to the health of a tree.
When Should You Prune Trees
There is not a specified time of the year for tree pruning. People do not realize if you regularly trim your trees year round you minimize the chances of weak, diseased, or dead tree branches causing harm to your otherwise healthy tree. This does not mean that by simply pruning your trees, diseases will be eliminated entirely. Diseases such as oak wilt can arise from leaving exposed limbs during pathogen transmission seasons.
Tree Pruning Techniques
- Thinning a tree is when you select specific branches to be removed to improve airflow and light penetration. This removes the weight of heavier branches allowing a tree to grow naturally without shaping.
- Cleaning removes dying, weak or other diseased branches from the crown of the tree.
- Reduction works by reducing the height or spread of tree leaders and the joints of secondary branches. For tree topping, a reduction helps a tree structurally as well as the durability.
- Raising is when a lower level branch is removed to increase the amount of clearance for people, building, or vehicles to pass safely.
Young Tree Pruning
A properly pruned tree is necessary to ensure that a young tree will grow into a strong tree when it matures. When a young tree is pruned regularly while it is growing will reduce the amount of tree trimming that will be required when it matures.
Scaffold branches are best created when a tree is still young and healthy to ensure they grow into mature trees. A dominant leader branch should be helped to grow upwards to give a young tree chance to develop structurally. The leader branch should stand out above secondary branches and the tip should not be pruned.
Palm Tree Pruning
Most palm trees should be trimmed at least twice a year to remove some of the dying leaves, flowers, or fruiting clusters as well as dangerous items like coconuts. You could prune your trees every 3 or 4 months to ensure that coconuts do not fall and cause damage to property or people passing by.
If your palm tree is trimmed too often it will grow slower as well as have the possibility to attract harmful pests. It is best to avoid harming the palm tree by leaving fronds that are green alone and not using spikes to scale the tree.
Avoid Tree Topping
Despite years of outcry from arborists on the harm that can be done by topping a tree, it is still something commonly practiced. When your tree is reduced to stubs or secondary branches you are not allowing the tree to grow properly like it.
Tree Topping Alternatives
If a tree must be reduced for clearance or safety reasons it is best to use other techniques like pruning. In a worst-case scenario, a tree will be removed and replanted in a different site with a tree species better suited for the specific situation. Instead of topping large limbs can be shortened sideways allowing another branch to assume the terminal role. In the case of smaller branches they may be removed entirely and if a tree has a significant amount of branches removed it should be given the necessary time to compartmentalize.