Sometimes, when taking a stroll or walking my dog, I look at the trees and remember the belief that most people have about tree pruning. Most people tend to depend on that; trees can be pruned at any time of the year without any negative impacts. However, the reality is somehow different from the misconception.
There are various seasons in a year, and not all these seasons are best for one to prune trees; some are better while others are not advisable.
Reasons for pruning trees
People use chainsaws to prune trees; the main and most common is to get rid of the dead, damaged, or diseased branches. So if you might be wondering why pruning trees is important, here is what you need. The process keeps people, pets, the surroundings, and people healthy as it prevents diseases from spreading and ensures that the trees utilize energy and resources to grow healthy and intact branches.
However, you should know that pruning does not have to be done when an emergency arises or is practical. Tree trimming is essential in enhancing the overall tree appearance. How they conduct their functions within the environment, they are planted in. the following are some of the common reasons for tree pruning:
- Control the overall size of the tree
- Promote flowering, tree growth, and fruit development
- Prevent large dead branches from falling and causing accidents
- Get rid of useless tree parts like the suckers and the sprouts looking thin, thus preventing proper functioning.
- You can tell how a well-pruned tree can transform the outside space to achieve the best view if you have been keen.
When to prune a tree
Deciduous and evergreen trees can be pruned at any time of the year or when you realize any overgrown or diseased branches on the tree. However, it is essential to note that particular times are better for tree pruning; they include the following:
Late winter or early spring
Starting from February to early April is the best time to prune the green growth experienced in deciduous and evergreen types of trees. In contrast, trees such as oak can be pruned during December and February because of their sensitivity to the oak wilt disease, which is felt more during the warmer months.
It is important to prune trees in late winter and early spring because this gives them time to heal the cuts made before the middle of spring approaches. It leads to rush green growth in the main growing seasons.
Also, you can prune your trees before leaves arrive because it makes it easy for you to see the branches in the best way and find the problems hidden by foliage. Moreover, if you have plants that flower during summer, you should prune them in early spring.
Late spring or early summer
If you aim at controlling the tree’s general shape and appearance, then the beginning of summer is the best time to prune the Cherry Tree Flowers. This enables you not to interrupt the incoming spring growth and influence the future growth as you can easily see the leaf surface of the tree and decide where to cut to reduce them precisely.
However, foliage is likely to hide various problematic branches; sometimes, it reveals others as it can show the weak limbs that can’t support the canopy’s weight. You should consider early summer pruning if you have trees like lilacs and cherries because you will be cutting them after their flowers have fallen.
Late summer or early fall
Fall pruning is not ideal due to two crucial reasons:
It facilitates new growth, which is later killed by the coming and increasing cold temperatures
It leads to the creation of wounds that the active fungi can easily infect during fall
The two reasons make it challenging to prune your trees during late summer or early fall; however, this can only be done to the most diseased leaves, posing a threat to the tree’s health.
Tips for tree pruning
Various trees require a different level of attention and care when pruning them; while some can be pruned once before maturity, others need to be pruned more often. However, it is advisable to start pruning trees when they are still young and have not developed any unhealthy and awkward growing branches. Although pruning is avoidable sometimes, the main goal is to ensure that you prune the trees less each year of their growth.
You should start with heading cuts that are significant in removing the growth buds, which can also be referred to as terminal buds. The cuts tend to reduce the overall length of the branches and determine the canopy’s shape of the tree.
Heading cuts work better when done on trees aging less than a year because when they are made on older trees, they encourage water sprouts; these are thin, vertical, and poorly supported tree branches sprouting along the longer limbs top.
If you want to make a heading cut, you should start by trimming the branch back to a quarter in front of its lateral buds. You can sue any one of the many lateral buds available; thus, it will depend on the length you want to achieve in the branch.
Before pruning a branch, determine the branch collar and back ridge; the latter is the hardest to see as it is the raised part of the tree bark where there is an attachment, while the branch collar is the swollen mass tissues located at the branch’s base.
Make a thinning cut flash against the branch collar; however, ensure that the collar is left intact to heal the cut quickly. However, if you cut a branch thicker than 1” you can opt for the three-cut pruning methods mainly applied on larger boughs. A pruning chainsaw and the pole saw can be used for diameters of up to 3” and over. When used on small trees, it exposes them to bark and plant tissue damages.
Should I always prune my trees?
In some instances, pruning is not the solution; you might find poorly growing trees with awkward branches and more diseased ones that human beings can’t control; in this situation, you need to cut the whole tree to control the situation.
Although, before deciding to cut down a tree completely, give it several trials of pruning it nicely and with care in the relevant seasons. It can enhance the tree’s health and keep improving in that it completely changes to a better one. You can always talk to a professional arborist before taking action.