Why pruning trees in important

Tree pruning is done to satisfy a few different aspects of tree health.

  • Removing dead, dying, and diseased limbs.
  • To create a scaffold branching throughout which allows snow and wind to move freely through the tree with less risk of breaking or damaging limbs.
  • Shaping and containing plants for aesthetics.
  • Most importantly, reducing hazards throughout the tree where possible.

Corrective pruning of small to medium-sized trees

This is where the tree is pruned to foster strong future growth.  The removal of crossing, interfering, or unwanted limbs early on is less traumatic to small and medium-sized trees than it would be to a mature established tree. Think of this in terms of adults vs. children breaking a bone. The younger you are the quicker you heal!

Regional practices

This prune concentrates on mostly dead wooding shade trees. It is not uncommon to have a snowstorm while our trees are in leaf. It is very important to reduce leverage and weight at the tips of our shade trees. This entails reducing the lateral limbs by a few feet to gain this reduction in tip weight. Sometimes this can be achieved by simply thinning the ends, getting that scaffold look so the snow filters through the tree instead of collecting on the ends. This helps to protect from early and late snowstorms.  It also reduce the “sail” effect during the occasional micro-burst that we experience. Leaf base is the engine that drives the plant’s food production. 

Shrub pruning

The two most common ways to prune shrubs are natural hand pruning and mechanical shearing with hedge trimmers.  Both are acceptable practices and are subject to your interpretation of how you want your shrubs to look when the pruning is completed.

Dormant pruning

Some trees that require being pruned while dormant such as Crabapples, Apples, and Hawthorns to avoid diseases like fireblight.  All trees can be pruned while dormant, however. How can you tell the difference between what is alive and what is not?  As you can tell there are buds on the ends of the limbs that show that it is alive.  The dead branches and limbs snap and break quite easily. Without having all the leaves on the trees to climb through, pruning during the winter is the best time of all. Plus there is not as much debris that will fall.

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