At some point, the majority of us will have to prune a tree on our property. Tree pruning is an essential activity to maintain the health, aesthetics, and structure of your tree. When done correctly, you can get rid of dead branches and promote healthy growth. Particularly if your tree is a fruit tree, then correct pruning will increase its potential yield and ensure it lives longer. That being said, get it wrong and you’ll inadvertently do more harm than good. We’ll talk you through the right and wrong ways to prune your tree, and why you might be better off using a professional tree pruning service.
The Damage Improper Pruning Can Cause
Every time you make a cut into a tree, you’re essentially opening wounds. Consider how many times you’ll do this during a tree trimming, and how many opportunities that allow for pests and infection to attack the open wounds. It’s surprisingly easy to cause long term damage. If you’re not careful, you could leave a tree far too susceptible to infestation and eventual death. Even if a wound becomes covered with new bark, there’s still likely to be decay on the original wound.
We could continue talking about the effect improper pruning has on the tree, but did you consider the damage it could cause to your property? Or even worse, to you and others? If you happen to be trimming particularly large branches, they tend to have a significant weight. Get your drop angle wrong, and whatever the branch lands on could become damaged as a result. Also, if you’re not properly trained with the equipment you’re using, you could seriously injure yourself with potentially dangerous tools. There’s always a risk of fallen branches landing on you, and the potential that you could fall from a dangerous height.
How Can This Affect the Trees Long Term?
If you continue to prune your tree with poor technique, there’s a strong chance that the tree will become diseased and therefore weak. If you don’t address the problem, the disease will spread and will slowly kill the tree. This can be particularly deceiving when the tree exterior appears healthy, but the inner wood becomes less dense and dies. If it wasn’t already challenged by the elements, it’s now far more likely to collapse in high winds and cause damage to property and people nearby.
The Common Mistakes Made While Pruning
Even if you’re not a trained professional, there are some common tree pruning mistakes which you need to be aware of.
One of the most common mistakes is also one of the easiest to avoid: pruning your tree at the wrong time. Avoid trimming your tree in spring when new buds are forming – you’re likely to interfere with the growth of the tree at an important time. Another common pruning mistake is using the wrong cutting method. Especially with branches thicker than 1.5 inches in diameter, you can create slow healing wounds without realizing it. Try not to remove branches with a single cut. This removes precious bark, can potentially cause decay and puts unnecessary stress on the tree. Finally, be careful not to completely shear the branch so that there are only young branches and leaves at the very end. You’ll weaken the limb and cause issues with poor weight distribution. If there’s too much weight at the extreme, the branch will eventually snap.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways that pruning a tree can go wrong, doing more harm than good. You’re strongly recommended to seek the help of a professional tree pruning service like Martin’s Tree Service.