Proper Tree Pruning Tips

Questions on Pruning your trees?

As the seasons change, now is a good time to take a fresh look at your trees to check their growth. Outside of raking leaves, trees don’t typically require much attention—in fact, you probably haven’t even noticed how much your trees have grown unless your view is suddenly obstructed.

Tree Pruning

Does your tree need to be pruned?

Homeowners prune their trees for a variety of reasons. At times you need to remove dead branches or shape the look of the tree. It may be blocking your view. Or, another reason to prune a tree is to provide it with better circulation.

When is the ideal time of year to prune?

Summer or winter are ideal times for tree trimming. After your tree’s seasonal growth has ended for the summer, cutting the tree will slow down the tree’s growth by decreasing the branch’s leaf surface. Or, alternatively, you can wait until the coldest part of the winter has passed and prune then (during the tree’s dormancy). This approach supports a fertile spring. Never prune in the fall because your tree will be subject to decaying fungi spreading spores.

What tools do I need?

If the tree is large, to lessen the chance of injury to yourself and damage to your home by a fallen branch, consider using the tree services of a professional. Here are some tips:

  • Small trees — use a bypass lopper
  • High branches — use a long reach pruner
  • Bigger branches — use folding saws, pruning saws, and chainsaw

How do I prune?

Before you pick up the clippers and get to work, take a moment to find the main branches of the tree. You never want to prune these. Also, while pruning branches, avoid harming the tree trunk. Try to make the cuts on the branches on an angle. You don’t want the angle to be too severe or else the bud may dry. If the cut is not angled enough (looking flat across), the stub may rot.

How much do I prune?

You don’t want to prune too much otherwise you weaken the tree against the elements and affect its circulation. The rule of thumb is to never prune more than 1/4 of your tree’s crown during a single season. You ideally want your tree’s branches to make up at least 2/3 of the overall tree’s height.