Tree Pruning Techniques

Why should I prune?

Pruning properly creates beautiful, healthy trees. It can also increase the productivity and life span of shade and fruit trees (fig. 1). Safety hazards Tree Pruning can often arise from poorly or unpruned trees that pose a danger to property and people.

Pruning can be both an art and a science. Bonsai and topiary are examples of plant art that require special pruning techniques. Even these unique plant forms can be pruned using the same scientific principles. This publication will give you the information to properly prune your plants. This knowledge will allow you to create a more artistic style of pruning based on your own preferences and experiences.

Orchard pruning is different from landscape tree pruning. An orchard’s purpose is to increase fruit production and maximize economic return. Pruning trees for landscape purposes is done to preserve the tree’s natural form, health, and longevity. It also helps to reduce potential hazards from unrestricted branch growth and improper pruning. Sometimes, it is necessary to prune a tree to reduce its size. However, this often means that the tree was not right for the landscape. To minimize the damage to property or injury caused by poor branch attachment, size-reduction pruning in landscape trees is recommended.

What time should I prune?

Pruning deciduous trees during the dormant period is possible after leaves have fallen in November or October, but it’s best to prune them in January to March. You should finish pruning in spring before the color of the leaves and flowers emerges. Many of a tree’s nutrients and carbohydrates are stored in its roots and wood during the winter. This means that a lot of the resources necessary for growth and overall health can be saved by removing a limb. Once leaves are formed, food reserves in the leaves are now more susceptible to being lost by pruning. The flow of sap from wounds is reduced by pruning in the dormant season, which also decreases the risk of disease and insects.

Pruning evergreen trees late in the dormant seasons, just before new growth starts, is a good idea. You can use light pruning to gather greens for holidays, but not too much.

For spring-flowering trees that carry preformed flower buds throughout the winter, summer pruning is often recommended. This helps reduce the chance of losing flowers that are still in the buds. Summer pruning can be done on other trees. However, it is best to limit summer pruning to the removal of deadwood and new branches not exceeding your thumb’s thickness.

Pruning young trees is better than corrective pruning large trees. Pruning young trees removes less branches, which reduces food reserves and causes smaller wounds that heal faster.

What do I need to be a professional?

A professional tree care specialist may be needed. While most tree pruning can be done by homeowners, it can be dangerous to prune heavy, large limbs from mature trees with sharp tools. Call a professional if power lines, heights, or valuable property are located below the tree. The power company should prune any tree, branches, equipment, or people that may be in direct contact with power lines. Make sure they use proper pruning techniques.

Verify that professional arborists are licensed, bonded, and insured. A few arborists might also be certified by a professional organization, such as the International Society of Arborists. ISA-certified arborists have taken exams to prove their knowledge and are required to attend annual update training. These arborists can help you avoid personal injury and property damage, and ensure that your trees are not damaged by incorrect pruning. Ask the arborist any questions and request references from previous pruning jobs. New Mexico has many arborists who are certified by the ISA. You may find contact information in your phone book.

What tools do I need?

Where do I cut?

Good pruning starts with the cut. Always cut back to the point of a branch, twig, or bud. This will ensure that the tree grows in the desired direction. This encourages healthy, controlled new growth. Don’t cut if you are unsure about whether or not to remove a branch. It can always be cut again later, but it cannot be put back.

A “collar” is placed between each branch and the trunk at the point where they originate from. The branch collar is made up of vascular tissue from the trunk and branch. You can damage the tree’s natural protection mechanisms by cutting into the trunk tissue. Cut your pruning beyond the collar of the branch, leaving no stub.

Cut small branches

The majority of pruning shears only have one blade. Your shears should be oriented so that the blunt jaw presses against the part of the limb you are going to remove. Incorrect orientation can cause tissue damage to the branch collar and slow down the wound-closing process.

Cut Large Limbs

Three cuts are required to remove large limbs (fig. To avoid removing bark from the trunk, make the following cuts: Cut 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up through the limb. Make the first cut (1) at the underside 6 inches beyond the bark collar. The second cut (2) should be made from the top, a few inches further than the first. Continue cutting until the branch is completely broken off (2a). After removing the weight of the branch, make a third cut (3) to remove the stub.

Do I need to put something on a wound?

No. Trees have their own mechanisms to close an injury. A tree can sustain many millions of injuries over its lifetime. Some as small as an insect bite, others as severe as a broken trunk. The tree “walls-off” or compartmentalizes injuries to protect them from being invaded. U.S. Forest Service research shows that pruning sealants can slow down wound closure and actually cause damage to trees. To speed up healing, you should use the proper pruning techniques. Also, it is important to clean your pruning blades regularly with alcohol to prevent spreading disease.

How do I train a young tree?

Young trees can be trained to become mature trees. Pruning young trees can help establish their structure and prevent future problems. It is easier and more effective to use pruning to train trees throughout their development, rather than to correctively prune older trees. Here are some tips:

For the tree’s structure, choose strong branches. Trees that are properly spaced in the right direction will be stronger and more efficient. Radial space refers to the arrangement of branches around the tree trunk. Vertical spacing is the distance between branches. Consider the angle of attachment when choosing branches. Branchs with an attachment angle greater than 30deg will grow well anchored to the trunk. They can support heavy fruit crops, snow, and wind loads.

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