Tree Pruning & Tree Thinning
There are numerous reasons to prune a tree which include: removing diseased, dead, and dying branches; removal of damaged limbs due to storms or other trauma; adhering to clearance requirements for pedestrians, vehicles, and structures; maintenance and aesthetics for maturing or matured trees; as well as restoration of tree structure to avoid limb failure during extreme weather conditions.
To help ensure optimal structure of a developed tree, it is best to begin the pruning process while a tree is young. By managing and directing a tree during its rapid growth years, the cuts required are significantly smaller and cause less stress to the tree than pruning the much larger branch ten years later. Pruning a tree in its youth reduces the number and size of wounds that would be required at a later stage in development. The maintenance of mature or maturing trees through pruning is also important to preserve health, stability, and appearance.
Many are misinformed regarding the times of the year a tree can be pruned, assuming that this can only be completed during the tree’s active growth period. The dormant period for a tree is surprisingly an appropriate time to prune the majority of tree species. For example, elms can only be pruned during the winter months to prevent the spread of disease. The state of the ground, frozen or thawed, has little to no impact on the quality of pruning and the overall health of the tree.
We love working with customers on a scheduled annual tree maintenance program as well. With this program each year we’ll come to your place, provide a tree assessment, remove suckers, do maintenance pruning, and any other tree services needed.
Tree Pruning Is Important Maintanence
Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure. Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature’s pruning, landscape trees require a higher level of care to maintain their structural integrity and aesthetics. Pruning must be done with an understanding of tree biology. Improper pruning can create lasting damage or even shorten the tree’s life.
Because each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, no branch should be removed without a reason. Common reasons for pruning are to remove dead branches, to improve form, and to reduce risk. Trees may also be pruned to increase light and air penetration to the inside of the tree’s crown or to the landscape below. In most cases, mature trees are pruned as corrective or preventive measures, as routine thinning does not necessarily improve the health of a tree
When to Prune
Most routine pruning to remove weak, diseased, or dead limbs can be accomplished at any time during the year with little effect on the tree. As a rule, growth and wound closure are maximized if pruning takes place before the spring growth flush.
Specific types of pruning may be necessary to maintain a mature tree in a healthy, safe, and attractive condition.
- Cleaning is the removal of dead, dying, diseased, weakly attached, and low-vigor branches from the crown of a tree.
- Thinning is selective branch removal to improve structure and to increase light penetration and air movement through the crown. Proper thinning opens the foliage of a tree, reduces weight on heavy limbs, and helps retain the tree’s natural shape.
- Raising removes the lower branches from a tree to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and vistas.
- Reduction reduces the size of a tree, often for utility line clearance. Reducing a tree’s height or spread is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and branch terminals to secondary branches that are large enough to assume the terminal roles (at least one-third the diameter of the cut stem). Compared to topping, reduction helps maintain the form and structural integrity of the tree.
Pruning Young Trees
Proper pruning is essential in developing a tree with a strong structure and desirable form. Trees that receive the appropriate pruning measures while they are young will require less corrective pruning as they mature.
A good structure of primary branches should be established while the tree is young. These limbs, called scaffold branches, are a mature tree’s framework. Properly trained young trees will develop a strong structure that requires less corrective pruning as they mature. For most young trees, maintain a single dominant leader growing upward. Do not prune back the tip of this leader or allow secondary branches to outgrow the main leader.