What Are Some Important Things To Know About Tree Pruning?

What are some important things to know about tree pruning? The time of year and type of tree are both crucial to the pruning process. When asked about tree pruning, our panel of top experts from Greenview...

When asked about tree pruning, our panel of top experts from Greenview Landscaping including Johanna who has been a landscape designer with the company since 2002, Ben who is a landscape design/build manager, and Tom who serves as the company's maintenance manager, says, "First of all, you have to know what tree you are dealing with, because depending on what time of the year it is, different trees need to be pruned." Some tips that they offer include: "When you are pruning, always cut back to a growing point or to a crotch in the tree, you don't want to leave a stunt. Sometimes people just take a branch and just cut it off anywhere, but you always have to go back to a growing point. In addition, dead wood and diseased wood should always be cut out. Crossing branches that are rubbing one of those should probably come out too. Parallel branches that are growing next to each other, one of those are usually removed. Also, if you have a branch that is growing back into the middle of the tree or sucker growths at the base of the tree on the trunk base, all of these can be cut off."

As far as the "extra" trimmings that are done just for shape, not out of necessity, the experts go one to say, "It is important to stand back from the tree and look at the shape. You can help form the tree to make it look nice, but it really helps to stand back and think about what cut will make the tree better and sometimes doing so is just prudent for safety, especially if a few of the tree limbs are hanging down over your scope of sight." When studying the tree, walk around and look at it from all sides to get the "whole picture" before cutting anything off. Remember, it is viewed from all angles and each one should be as equally attractive. Not even on all sides, per say- nothing in nature is perfect, just trimmed evenly.

The panel of experts also comments on the fact that "tree pruning is probably often neglected - people just don't do it or they are afraid of doing it. They are afraid that they are going to do something wrong. Many people will get in there and prune and they will do the wrong things. They cut at the wrong place, they cut at the wrong time, and they can damage the plant that away." So, it is in your best interest to consult a professional, maybe even having them do the pruning the first few times so you can see firsthand how to do it correctly, before attempting it yourself. Some trees are hardy enough to withstand frequent pruning, others require a delicate hand. Over pruning a tree can be a costly mistake, maybe even damaging it beyond repair, if it happens to fall into the latter category.

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