Pruning (trimming) a tree is the most common tree maintenance procedure and there are many reasons for it. For young trees, it helps them develop a strong and desirable form. For mature trees, it helps them to live longer and maintain their beauty. It is very important to understand how each tree will respond to each cut that is made to it. If improperly pruned, your trees can be damaged, sometimes beyond repair, and their lives can be substantially shortened. When trees are pruned from a young age, they need little corrective pruning later on.
Reasons for Pruning
Because every cut has the potential for damage, no tree limb should be pruned without a reason. Common reasons for pruning are:
- Removal of dead branches
- Thinning branches to allow more sunlight through.
- To eliminate hazards
Although all of these are acceptable reasons for pruning, they must all be done with the knowledge of how a tree will react. Heavy or improper pruning can permanently damage or kill a tree.
Things to Keep in Mind
If you are pruning your own trees, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Each cut has the potential to change the growth of a tree so take care in where you prune.
- Learn where and how to make cuts to avoid long-term damage to your tree.
- Trees heal differently than we do. Trees grow over their wounds so they are there forever.
- Small cuts do less damage than large cuts, so pruning at an early age will reduce the need for larger cuts later.
- Be sure you are using the proper tools for pruning.
- Climbing trees can be dangerous all by itself, but climbing and pruning is even more risky.
- Do not prune any trees that are near power lines. There is the potential to be electrocuted.
- If you have any doubt at all about what you are doing, hire a certified arborist to help you.
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