How to prune shade trees?

Early tree pruning will decide the shape, strength and life span of the tree. Proper pruning will not only save money, but give healthier, safer, and easy-to-maintain trees. Prune moderately when planting a new tree. The main aim is to strengthen the roots and remove the damaged or dead limbs.

Tree Pruning

Multiple branches: Protect the tree from multiple leaders. Remove the branches that are crooked or has some defects or create an uneven appearance.

Thinning and spacing: Thinning can prove beneficial to most trees as it involves removing some limbs that compete for space and light. Remember to maintain evenly spaced laterals i.e. 8 to 12 inches apart in young trees. Excess pruning can damage or kill the tree. Remember to keep 2/3rds of the tree as live crown.

Temporary branches: The lowest branches protects the bark from any damage because of the sun and strengthen the trunk. When planting trees in lawns, the lower limbs should block the passage and it should not be pruned for the next 3 to 4 years. Thereafter, it can be removed over a period of next 2 to 3 years. Never allow the temporary branches to turn big.

Branches rubbing each other: Branches rubbing against each other can lead to wounds, decaying and notches. If necessary, remove such branches.

Watersprouts, and suckers: These usually emerge at the base or inside the crown. They grow rapidly, weak attachments and upright. It should be removed within the first year of its detection.

Tips to good pruning

  1. Prune in the first or second year because pruning wounds will be small.
  2. Find out the leader branch and lateral branches before pruning and remove diseased and defective branches. Keep lateral branches that form 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock angles.
  3. The tools should be sharp. One-hand pruning shear that has curved blades is best for young trees.
  4. Small branches growing closer to the trunk of the tree should be pruned closer to the trunk. If the branches are huge, then it should be cut just outside the branch ridge and collar. Never leave an overhanging stub.
  5. If reducing the length of a small branch, cut closer to the lateral bud or another branch. Go for buds that will grow faster and in the desired direction. The cut should be made at an angle of about 1/4 inch from the bud.

Contact a tree company who can prune shade trees in the right way.

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