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Key Tips For Pruning Your Trees

Proper pruning encourages strong growth, increases flower and fruit production, improves plant health, and removes damaged limbs.

Pruning

Proper pruning technique is important for a healthy tree. Please review our animated Tree Pruning Guide as well as videos on why pruning is necessary, the rules of pruning, and the ABCs of pruning.

Pruning Techniques

Specific types of pruning may be necessary to maintain a mature tree in a healthy, safe, and attractive condition.

  • Cleaning is the removal of dead, dying, diseased, weakly attached, and low-vigor branches from the crown of a tree.
  • Thinning is selective branch removal to improve structure and to increase light penetration and air movement through the crown. Proper thinning opens the foliage of a tree, reduces weight on heavy limbs, and helps retain the tree’s natural shape.
  • Raising removes the lower branches from a tree to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and vistas.
  • Reduction reduces the size of a tree, often for utility line clearance. Reducing a tree’s height or spread is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and branch terminals to secondary branches that are large enough to assume the terminal roles (at least one-third the diameter of the cut stem). Compared to topping, reduction helps maintain the form and structural integrity of the tree.When to Prune

When to Prune

This depends to a large extent on why you prune. Light pruning and the removal of dead wood can be done anytime. Otherwise, below are some guidelines for the different seasons.

WINTER PRUNING

Pruning during dormancy is the most common practice. It results in a vigorous burst of new growth in the spring and should be used if that is the desired effect. It is usually best to wait until the coldest part of winter has passed.

SUMMER PRUNING

To direct the growth by slowing the branches you don’t want, or to “dwarf” the development of a tree or branch, pruning should be done soon after seasonal growth is complete. Another reason to prune in the summer is for corrective purposes. Defective limbs can be seen more easily.

PRUNING FLOWERING TREES TO ENHANCE FLOWERING

For trees that bloom in spring, prune when their flowers fade. Trees and shrubs that flower in mid- to late summer should be pruned in winter or early spring.

WHEN NOT TO PRUNE: FALL

Because decay fungi spread their spores profusely in the fall and wounds seem to heal more slowly on fall on cuts, this is a good time to leave your pruning tools in storage.

Our animated Tree Pruning Guide will walk you through the Keys to Good Pruning and Annual Tree Pruning Steps from Planting to Maturity.

Source: https://www.arborday.org

www.treesaregood.org

Note: This content may be edited for length and style purposes.

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