Tree pruning can be the most important or the worst thing that can be done to your trees.
Once a limb or branch is removed it’s impossible to reattach it. Understanding each species’ branching structure and the consequences of what cuts to make to accomplish the ideal objective are vital to the long-term health of the tree.
Knowing How to Prune A Tree
In the last 20-30 years, the nursery industry has made many available varieties of trees to the public. Many of these varieties have a branching structure that, if not understood can cause the tree to be short-lived. One of our favorite quotes is, “Love the trees to death.” We’ve all seen instances where someone with good intentions destroys the silhouette of a perfectly beautiful tree. New Day Arborist & Tree Service’s approach is to determine what your objectives are, and work towards the best solution, both for the tree and you.
The most important reason to prune is to improve the structure of the tree. This is simply allowing the limbs the proper room to attach themselves securely to the main trunk. If a trees overall mature height is approximately 50’ the main limbs should be spaced 2’-6” apart (deciduous varieties), or 5% of the height of the tree.
Other Reasons to Prune a Tree
- Interfering or low limbs
- Vista or view pruning
- Crown cleaning or dead wood removal
- Espalier/ space allocation pruning
- Weight reduction or restoration pruning
- Thinning to get more sun light to other areas
“Overplanting” is a phenomenon that occurs when people buy too many plants with the good intention of filling-up their landscape right away. Overplanting causes the health of the less competitive plants to be compromised. In some yards the overall height and width of the mature plants were not carefully understood. Therefore it’s necessary to remove the weaker specimens for the long-term health of the others. Think of this as “pruning for your landscape.”
Tree Pruning Tips
- It’s usually best to prune a tree while the tree is dormant. It’s acceptable to prune most trees at any point in the year but the best time is to prune it while it is dormant. The notable exception to this rule is if a hazard exists on the tree that makes the tree unsafe.
- Be aware of the size of the branch that you are pruning.
- Try to only prune branches that, at their base, have weak, V-shaped, narrow angles. The branches that you want to keep will have strong U-shaped meeting points.
- The goal should be to have a tree with a ratio of living crown to tree height which is 2/3.
- Prune branches when they are young. This helps to mitigate the risk of leaving a significant scar on the tree.
- Avoid pruning a branch too close or far from it’s attachment point. Leaving large stubs on the tree should be avoided as well as removing the branch collar.
Fruit Tree Pruning
Fruit trees require a different approach to pruning as the focus is to maintain the height to a reachable level and prune to produce a branching structure that will endure the weight of the maturing fruit. Most fruit trees have what are called “spurs” or “fruiting spurs,” which, if pruned, can lead to a nice tree with no fruit. There are small but significant differences in pruning one variety versus another variety.
There are many exciting new varieties of fruit trees being offered by local nurseries from all over the world. Each one has idiosyncrasies that should be understood by those doing the work on the tree. If you want a professional to prune your trees, give New Day Arborist & Tree Service a call at (360) 887-6955 and we will be happy to assist you!
Ornamental Tree Pruning and Hedge Pruning
Ornamental and hedge trimming is one of our specialties. Jeff Day has been in the nursery and landscape maintenance business for over four decades and knows that each situation can be a challenge if the big picture is not understood. New Day Arborist & Tree Service takes the time to discuss the options available, and come up with the best options for your yard.
Contact us today with questions or to schedule an appointment!