Tree pruning is the process of removing branches from a tree to enhance its growth or aesthetic value. However, improper pruning can damage the tree, potentially resulting in stunted or dwarfed growth the following season. Read on to learn about the best practices in tree pruning to keep your yard looking great year after year.
The Pruning Process
When it comes time to prune your trees, start with any obvious damage, like branches that have been broken due to storms or areas where you see evidence of rotting. Be sure to cut at the base of the branch, not in the middle. In many cases, this is all that needs to be done to maintain the health of the tree. However, if you are trying to guide your tree to grow into a certain pattern, you’ll want to continue by trimming off any branches that grow outside of that pattern to encourage the tree to grow back the way you want it to. Always take into account the natural growth pattern of a particular type of tree to make sure that you are not going against its nature. Step back periodically to inspect your work to ensure that you are not over-pruning.
When to Prune
The appropriate pruning time depends on the type of tree, but typically, the optimal time to prune is in late winter or early spring, before new growth starts. Wait until after the coldest part of winter has passed to preserve the health of the tree. For most trees, it is inadvisable to prune them during the fall, as they may not be able to withstand the winter. This practice is likely to damage the health of the tree and inhibit its growth.