Regular pruning is maybe one of the most rewarding tasks you can do for your plants. It keeps them healthy and clean. But most people are often afraid to perform this simple health care for their plants. Why? Because it’s easy to mess up and ruin your plants. Fret not, as in this guide; we’ll talk about how to perform proper pruning and why you should start doing it right away.
Pruning? Is it needed?
In trees, pruning is a core maintenance procedure for a multitude of reasons. Of course, trees like those in the wild grow big and healthy without anyone doing pruning on them. In domestic trees, like those installed in landscapes, routine maintenance allows them to be healthy and free of any infestations. But before you start cutting down leaves and branches, you first need to know the logic behind doing this for the plants in your yard.
Pruning is done for plants health and usually has two goals
- Removing dead or diseased parts
One of pruning plants’ main goals is to cut off disease and dead branches from affecting the other parts. Infestations and illnesses, especially on trees, are contagious if not pruned immediately. Another objective of pruning tree branches is to shorten any parts of the trees that might be rubbing against another tree in the area.
Pruning the branches like the ones near the tree’s crown also allows sunlight to pass through and give nutrients to the tree base and other plants under it. People often forget how thick trees unintentionally block sunlight for their small friends near their trunks.
- Removing wild plants and weeds
Pruning doesn’t just involve branches and the upper parts. Cutting down wild trees or plants growing at the base of your tree is also considered part of pruning. This one is crucial, as any plants growing near the roots, how little they may be, are stealing nutrients from your main tree. By pruning them, you provide your tree all the nutrients in the area, making it healthier and more robust.
Pruning is also performed for you and your property’s safety.
- Dead branches are weak and might fall off anytime. This is a significant risk to just leave out of the open. It’s better to prune tree branches as soon as you notice that dead ones are hanging on your tree.
- Any branches creeping too close to utility structures such as your window or a power line, you need to prune them asap. But safety first. Assess if you can safely prune the branches without professional help. When in doubt, call for help from any professional tree servicing company.
- Depending on what state you are in, it might be essential to prune trees before a hurricane hits. Trees that are too thick at the top are more susceptible to high-speed winds, making them prone to toppling over or being blown away.
Pruning, the right way!
When starting to prune, you might feel sorry for cutting your well-loved plants and trees, but do keep in mind that we are doing this for their own benefit. First things first, make sure you have the right tools. Don’t just use any scissor or knife you have in your house to prune your plants.
- Thick branches
The first step is to locate the callus of the dead branches. You need to look for that slightly raised part where the main trunk and the branch connects. Once you find the callus, we need to do three steps to ensure the best possible cut and encourage new growth without any collateral damage.
First: Measure about 15 to 18 inches from the branch’s underside where it connects to the tree bark. Then, make a cut half-way thru the branch. It is imperative that you make sure you don’t cut more than half in this step.
- Locate the adjacent side of that cut on the top of the branch.
- Cut a straight line connecting to the initial cut we did in step 1.
- Please do not cut the branch at an angle; it needs to be a clean, straight cut.
Last: After you remove the dead or diseased branch, make a 45-degree cut on the callus. This encourages the growth of a new callus and branch. It also prevents any water damage from the top going into this wound of the tree.
When is the best time to prune a tree?
To be completely honest, when it comes to dead or diseased branches that might pose a health risk, there is no specific time to remove them. Just prune them as soon as you notice any damage.
For regular maintenance on healthy trees, most professional tree services will tell you to prune them during dormancy, and as this differs depending on the species, you would need to do some research. The idea here is after dormancy, and the tree is full of energy and food, highly encouraging new growth on the pruned parts.
Another great rule of thumb when it comes to pruning is to do it in autumn. This has no specific ties with the tree species but more of the practicality of it. During autumn, leaves are naturally thinner, making it easier for you to see any branch or bark starting to die of infection.