Pruning and trimming the trees is one of the most important tasks for every gardener. The proper tree trimming is not so complicated, but you should still know a few basic things, in order to perform it correctly and without endangering the tree and everyone who walks around it. There is a wide variety of tree trimming and pruning techniques, depending on the type and size of the tree, which can help you keep it in a great shape for a long time. With the right equipment and knowledge, you can prune your trees by yourself, in order to maintain their appearance and eliminate potentially dangerous branches and other common tree issues. Here are a few things you need to know:
Reasons to trim or prune a tree
There are only 3 main reasons to prune your tree – health, safety and aesthetics. Every other interference in the tree’s structure could lead to other potential problems, which could be easily avoided otherwise.
Pruning a tree regularly and efficiently can help it maintain a good shape and appearance. This way your tree won’t take too much space, won’t damage your house, and it will look appealing to everyone who walks by it. But you should have in mind that it’s not recommended to try to impose unnatural shapes and sizes to your tree. The amount of trimming and pruning you will have to perform can seriously damage the tree. Research your particular type of tree before you proceed to trimming.
You should take immediate action, if your tree has broken or dead branches, which can fall off any moment. If the tree branches are in your way while driving, walking, or are just dangerously close to your windows and roof, you should trim them back immediately. Another safety issue is when the tree branches have grown too close to any utility lines. In these cases you should contact he utility company in question, so they can send someone to take care of the problem.
Trees can also get sick sometimes, it’s not pleasant, but it’s the way nature works. In these cases planned pruning of the affected tree branches and limbs can save your tree from complete removal. Also, trimming the crown of a tree improves the air flow between the branches, which makes the tree more resilient in case of storms. Another reason to perform immediate tree trimming, is if some of the branches of the tree are crossing each other or rubbing against each other.
General Tree Trimming Tips
In most cases, it’s best to trim or prune your tree during its dormant season. This is when you will least affect its growth and the consequences will be minor. Technically, some trees like pines can be pruned all year long, but it’s still recommended to wait for the dormant season. Of course, if there is a serious hazard which can endanger the safety of people and property, the trimming should be performed right away.
You should also be very careful about the size of the branch you want to trim. If the branch is less than 5 centimetres in diameter, there is no issue in removing it. If the branch is between 5 and 10 centimetres in width, then you should think twice before removing it. And if the branch is bigger than 10 centimetres in width, than it’s not recommended to remove it, unless you have a very good reason to do it.
Only trim branches which are weak and their angles are narrow and V-shaped. If the angles are U-shaped, than the branch is strong and it can stay. You should also have in mind, that the lateral branches should be at least half, and at best three quarters of the diameter of the stem at the point of attachment. If they are smaller than that, they should be removed.
Try to prune your branches when they are still young. This is when they are easier to manage and the chances of leaving nasty scars are a lot smaller. You should also never trim a branch too close or too long. It’s not nice to leave a large stub or to remove the branch collar completely.