Tree pruning is essential to a tree’s health, but is not as easy as it looks. An improper pruning cut can rip the bark or injure the trunk of the tree. For more information on tree pruning, visit http://www.davey.com/dormantpruning.
Steve Nagy, Davey Tree Service expert and ISA board certified master arborist, tells you why, when and how to properly prune your trees.
WHEN SHOULD YOU PRUNE YOUR TREES?
It’s a good idea to wait until the fall and winter to prune your trees. You can see the scaffolding branches of the tree and also visually inspect the non-essential branches. You eliminate the spread of pathogens and possible insect infestation in some of the pruning cuts you will be making on the tree during these seasons.
WHY SHOULD YOU PRUNE YOUR TREES?
• To remove dead, diseased and broken branches, maintaining tree health and ensuring safety
• Aesthetic reasons, allowing more light and wind to penetrate the crown
• To create vehicle or building clearance
KEEP IN MIND:
Safety is critical. If the tree needing to be pruned cannot be reached from the ground, it’s important to contact your local arborist for assistance. If the branches are in range of the utility wires, call your power company to complete the work.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR WHEN PRUNING YOUR TREES?
• Remove any dead, diseased or broken branches for the health of the tree.
• Remove water sprouts and suckers.
• Look for a strong central leader and examine the branching structure of the tree. Directionally prune the tree to make sure it maintains a strong healthy shape.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A PROPER PRUNING CUT?
• Make the first pruning cut one to two feet out from the parent branch or trunk. Start this cut under the tree branch you are pruning.
• The next pruning cut is the top cut, slightly further out from the first cut. This will allow the tree limb to drop smoothly when cut, and avoid tearing the bark off the tree.
• Finally, make a clean, smooth pruning cut to remove the remaining tree branch. Make it carefully, outside of the branch bark ridge and the evident collar, leaving no jagged edges.
Contact your local professionally trained arborist if you have any questions or need assistance with tree pruning.