Ways You are Loving Your Trees to Death – Pruning

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It’s hard to imagine that as society becomes more aware and proactive about saving our environment, we could be damaging the trees that we are working so hard to save. With the influx of information that we have it can be difficult to determine where we can help. One of the easiest ways to get involved is to properly maintain what you already have.

In this series, we are going to cover several areas where people think that they are improving/helping their trees but may be doing more harm than good. These areas are mulching, watering, tree supports, and pruning.

We will have an in depth look at these common practices and discover whether they are beneficial and what we should be doing.

Pruning – Are You Planning to Fail?

Tree pruning and trimming is often overlooked until it is too late. Trees in an urban environment need to be continuously monitored and pruned to allow for proper tree growth and to ensure that they are suitable for their surroundings. There are many reasons why owners may want their trees pruned, but some of the most common are deadwood, elevations or clearances, structural pruning, and reduction pruning.

Pruning should always be done with a goal and a plan; this will prevent unnecessary pruning cuts on the tree. Even though pruning cuts create a wound on the tree there can be many benefits if done properly.

The Good

Proper Pruning

    • Proper pruning will reduce sucker growth and allow for properly developed branches
  • Prune trees during the winter for better wound closure
  • Remove branches when the tree is smaller to avoid making larger cuts in the future
  • Proper juvenile pruning will lead to a safer more satisfying tree
  • Proper cuts will allow the tree to properly seal the wound and prevent large cavities from developing

The Bad

Poor Pruning

  • Improper pruning cuts will take much longer for the tree to seal the wound
  • Improper pruning cuts are more likely to encourage decay and creating cavities in the tree
  • Improper pruning will lead to tree decline
  • Improper pruning times could lead to unwanted pests and disease

Our Truth

Trees are an extension of your homes and are often the first thing that people see when they arrive at your property. Trees can offer so many different benefits to your home and life. A Maintained tree can improve the value of your home and increase the curb appeal. A healthy tree can improve your mental state, just think of a morning when you look out and see the sun shining through the leaves, or sitting under a large tree on a hot day.

When we prune a tree we change the natural shape and alter it to fit our needs. For instance when you look at a row of trees underneath a power lines and see that they have been trimmed for a specific purpose, or small globe trees that have been rounded over year by year. In order to allow for trees to fit our specific needs we usually need to prune them.

Pruning should also be done to eliminate hazards and reduce risk. Trees should regularly be pruned to remove large diseased and dead branches. Once a branch is broken or dead the tree will naturally begin to close over the wound. This means the live tissue will begin to close over the dead branch which will increase the likelihood of failure.

By pre-emptively cutting the branch before it falls we eliminate the risk of someone or something being struck. Another way to reduce the trees risk is by subordinating or reduction prunes. Subordination is done by taking weight off of the end of branches to reduce the weight, leverage and wind impact. When subordination is done using proper arboriculture standards it can greatly reduce the risk of a tree and allow it to be a vital part of the landscape for longer.

It is amazing to see how much awareness and effort is being put into planting and maintaining trees. It is just a shame to think that all the hard work may not yield the proper results. Be sure to consult an arborist when planning the tree work around your property. UTS tree care employs professional and educated arborists who want to care for your trees and inform you of their specific needs.

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