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The Ins and Outs of Pruning

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The trees in the forest are very different from those in your yard. Forest trees can extend their branches as far as they want to go, while sending dead or weak limbs to the forest floor. Your yard trees are confined to a much smaller space and don’t have quite as much freedom to spread out as they like, especially if you as the homeowner have anything to say about it.

While we want our trees to be healthy and look natural, we don’t want them growing out of control so their limbs can poke at windows or possibly fall onto electrical wires.

Enter: pruning! This is a necessary part of tree care, both in terms of landscape health and safety.

So, what is pruning? This involves the selective removal of branches from a tree to improve its structure while encouraging new, healthy growth. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

When to Prune

The best time to prune is in mid to late winter. Doing this during the tree’s dormancy will encourage new growth once the weather warms up. Consequently, you don’t want to prune in late summer or fall, as it promotes delicate new growth that can’t survive the cold of the winter.

Generally, if your tree or plant flowers before June 1st, prune it right after it flowers. But if it blooms after that date, wait till late winter or early spring before buds become visible.

Where to Cut

You should prune back to — or just above — a branch or bud; alternatively you can prune back to the soil line. Be careful not to leave stems or branch stubs. Don’t top a tree in an effort to spur rejuvenation, which destroys the tree’s natural shape and makes it more vulnerable to disease, pests, and storm damage.

First remove problematic branches, completely cutting off dead branches (they will look brittle with brown buds), branches that are stifling other branches, those that have started growing toward the center of the tree, shoots at the base, water sprouts, and branches with narrow angles.

Addressing Dense Growth

Dense growth does not allow light to reach the interior of the tree, which causes the plant to grow an outer shell that looks lush and dense, but leaves a dead, sparse interior. Dense growth also prevents sufficient moisture from getting to the roots. When you thin out a tree, you are boosting the amount of rain, light and air that will keep it as healthy as possible.

Benefits of Pruning

Engaging in regular pruning is the best gift you can give your trees. Not only do they look better on your property, they become healthier too. Either perform this necessary task yourself or hire a landscaper skilled in tree care to do it. Here are some of the top advantages to tree pruning:

  • Removing dead, broken or damaged branches keeps your tree healthy overall.
  • You can save your property from potential damage caused by fallen branches.
  • Pruning encourages healthy, new growth.
  • Keep branches off your roof and power lines. This can cause damage to your roof as well as give critters a direct line to your attic; branches on power lines can cause those lines to hang down or become detached.
  • Your tree will look more clean and polished, contributing to the aesthetic of your whole yard.
  • Gives your tree a solid foundation for long-term health.

Common Types of Pruning

Different trees and situations will require different tree trimming techniques. Here are the most common:

  • Reducing density: This involves removing limbs back to the branch of origin, usually used to thin out a full canopy to allow more sunlight to shine through.
  • Maintaining health: This involves making simple cuts to clear out dead or diseased limbs for a more polished look.
  • Size management: This reduces the height or width of the tree, usually used to shorten branches that are imposing on utility lines or to discourage wide-spread trees.
  • Structural cuts: These involve improving a tree’s structure and long-term health, using one or a combination of the above methods.

Now that you know how to prune your trees as well as the benefits, you can get started on your plan for this year!

Contact Bare Roots Tree Solutions

Need help with your pruning? Get a free quote when you call us at 866-616-3097. Our certified arborists are your local tree specialists throughout Dallas, offering proven tree care solutions that beautify your yard.