Proper Pruning

by Debra Wyatt
(last updated January 6, 2014)

There are several reasons why one would want to prune their tree aside from the obvious reason of shaping the tree. Pruning can help keep the size down and help prevent problems. Pruning also improves the quality of leaves, flowers, and fruit.

It is not unusual for a tree or shrub to be pruned when it is first transplanted into your yard. This initial pruning should not be very extensive and should only focus on the removal of broken or dead branches. This limited initial pruning does not apply to fruit trees, which should be fully trimmed and shaped immediately after they are transplanted.

After any initial pruning, you should not do any major pruning for at least two years. A good time to plan for pruning your trees and shrubbery is when the trees are dormant. Try to time the pruning before the weather gets too cold. If the weather is going to drop below 18 degrees Fahrenheit than it's too cold to prune. All you succeed in doing when it's that cold is to freeze yourself and the branches will not be able to heal properly.

Of course, there is an exception to every rule and that is the case with pruning deciduous trees such as the maple, birch, and walnut trees. These trees have high sap pressure. This same pressure is what allows for the tapping of sugar maples, but it also causes the branches that have been cut to continue to "bleed," and then the cuts won't heal correctly. The best time to prune these trees is right after their leaves fall, just before they enter dormancy, which is also just before the winter cold sets in.

It is best to use the proper tools for pruning. Usually a general-purpose pruning shear is all that is needed. This pruning shear is about eight inches long. If the tree that is being pruned has branches that are over 3/4 inches in diameter than a lopping shear should be used.

Before pruning take time to dip your pruning shears into a ten-percent bleach solution. This is absolutely necessary if you are dealing with a diseased tree. After pruning the diseased branches or shrubs take time to disinfect the tool. Using an alcohol and Lysol combination doesn't cause the blades to rust.

Trying to decide which branches to cut can be hard. Understanding the basic structure of the tree will help you to decide which branches should be cut out. When the branch grows, the bark has a collar that forms between the branch and the trunk. If the angle of the branch is wide there will be plenty of room for the extra bark. The problem arises when the angle is small, causing the bark to crumple up with little space, leaving a thick layer on top of the branch which allows no support for the branch which then weakens the branch.

When pruning consider the natural shape of the tree and then prune your tree to enhance its natural shape. If it has a branch that is sticking out and growing differently than the other branches you will want to trim it back. You will want to make the cut as clean as possible.

Clean up the area that has been pruned, and dispose of the pruned branches and leaves. Return your pruning shears and other pruning tools to their proper places so that they will be ready next time when you need them again.

Author Bio

Debra Wyatt

Deb has a communications degree and applies her talents to her position as Marketing Specialist at Sharon Parq Associates. In her spare time she spends time with her children and grandchildren and devotes time to her church. ...

MORE FROM DEBRA

Secrets of Making Great Gravy

Are you tired of lumpy gravy that is either too thick or too thin? Here are some simple solutions to help make the perfect ...

Discover More

Vegetable Gardening without a Garden

There are times when having a traditional garden just won't work. This could be for various reasons such as living in an ...

Discover More

Lilac Care

The lilac bush is the answer when looking for a bush that requires low maintenance and still has many other great qualities. ...

Discover More
MORE GARDENING TIPS

Hold Open Your Trash Bag when Sweeping Leaves

A simple TV tray stand can be a great help in holding open your garbage bags. Before you try to pick up large piles of ...

Discover More

Cleaning Your Concrete Patio

If the proper care is taken, a patio can help set the tone for your back yard perfectly, particularly if you have a concrete ...

Discover More

Yard Management

Everyone knows that first impressions are important, and nothing makes as much of a first impression as your yard. If you do ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

Links and Sharing
Share