How to prune a tree

Trees provide many benefits for us humans. They provide a very peaceful and calming presence for many people and have a stronger influence on us than just appreciating their beauty. Hospital patients have been shown to recover more quickly if their room offers a view of a tree. Of course there is the obvious benefit we receive from the effects trees have on the environment. Enriching the oxygen supply, providing shade for our homes, conserving water, providing wildlife refuge, redirecting wind, less dew and frost, just to name a few. However there may be some more subtle ways trees effect our environment that we may not consider as much, such as an increase in property value. A properly maintained tree that is creatively tied into the landscaping can make a huge difference in the image of the house. Another thing people may not consider is they ways trees can bring community together. Neighbors collaborating on shared responsibilities, people gathering in parks to be under the trees.

Therefore it is important for us to take good care of our trees, especially in urban environments. This is why you should use a certified arborist, someone who can identify what needs to happen to your trees.

Lots of reasons to prune a tree:

  • Training a young tree
  • Removing deadwood, rubbing limbs, diseased limbs, and damaged limbs
  • Allow more light and wind to penetrate
  • House or building clearance
  • Street and sign clearance
  • Electric and utility line clearance
  • Elevating the crown
  • Thinning the crown
  • Vista pruning
  • Fruit and flower production

Proper Cuts

If you are interested in learning how to prune a tree, take note: Because each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, no limb should be removed without a reason. Routine thinning does not necessarily improve the health of a tree. Trees produce a thick crown of foliage to produce the sugar needed as energy for the trees growth and development. Removal of excessive foliage can reduce growth and energy reserves. Heavy pruning can be a significant burden and stress on your tree. As well you do not want to remove more than a third of the crown in one year.

One of the most important aspects of pruning is making proper cuts. First of all you should always be using sharp tools to make sure there is a clean cut. As well you never want to paint a wound unless it is intended to prevent the spread of oak wilt. Always make the cut to the outside of the branch collar. The branch collar is an extension of the trunk where the branch joins the main trunk. This is to prevent the spread of decay into the main trunk. Along the branch collar is something called the barrier protection zone. This is a part of the trees’ immune system and it releases chemicals to heal the trees’ wounds. This is why proper cuts are so important. As well be sure to not leave stubs. 

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