The main objective of tree pruning should be to improve its health, beauty and structure – not simply because brush collection is imminent.
When making a cut, use a sharp and clean cutting tool, and remember to clean it in between separate trees. Cuts to oaks should be covered quickly with pruning paint to reduce the spread of oak wilt.
- Large branches (greater than 1 inch) should be undercut to minimize additional damage and help the wound heal faster. Follow the three-step cutting method.
- To promote healthy wood and minimize damage, aim to remove dead, damaged, diseased and rubbing branches.
- If early training has not been possible, crown reduction helps correct collisions with traffic, power lines or other structures. Never cut off more than 25 percent of a tree in a single year, and keep in mind that young trees compartmentalize better than old ones. In many cases, the only alternative for a tree that has outgrown its site is to replace it with a smaller-growing variety.
The most sophisticated pruning techniques attempt to enhance flowering or fruiting, or encourage the growth of a strong branching structure. As a rule, it’s best to consult with a certified arborist before undertaking any pruning because trees will often struggle for many years after a bad pruning.