3 Common Mistakes With Tree Pruning

Tree pruning is performed for several reasons, from opening up the canopy to enhancing the tree's shape. Pruning also helps remove obstructions, reduce the size of the plant, and remove damaged growth. You should hire an arborist to prune correctly and ensure the health and vigor of your trees. Here are some common tree pruning mistakes.

1. Not Pruning at the Right Time

The ideal time for tree pruning is during winter. This is because it is less stressful for the plant and easier to identify the branch structure. Pruning during this time is also less likely to promote harmful pathogens. Trees also heal quickly when they are pruned before spring.

You should not prune in the fall. Fall pruning removes the flower and leaf buds that a tree has set during the summer growth. These buds remain dormant through winter and bloom during spring. Therefore, pruning dormant buds means you will lose springtime flowers, and the plant will use more energy for replacement buds.

Additionally, you should not prune trees when they are vulnerable to disease and pests. Making pruning cuts at the wrong time means you will leave your trees susceptible to disease. For example, you should not prune during warm months when beetles are most active.

2. Topping a Tree

Topping is when you cut a tree's main trunk at a random point below the apex. The trunk appears as the tree grows upwards and develops the lateral branches that form the tree's crown. The trunk is the reason a mature and well-maintained tree appears balanced and right.

When trees are topped, they respond by emitting water sprouts. These weakly attached branches sprout at the end of branches. Topping also leads to more corrective tree work. All these water sprouts have to be cut off to control the tree's appearance. Moreover, these weakly attached branches can easily break and drop from wind damage.

3. Improper Pruning Cuts

A pruning cut reduces the damage to a tree enabling it to heal quickly. Improper cuts like flush and stub cuts can damage the tree. A flush cut is close to the trunk, whereas a stub cut is too far from it.

A flush cut leaves a vast wound in the side of the tree. On the other hand, a stub cut leaves a lot of dead branches on the tree. These branches will decay into the tree trunk. Both of these cuts could eventually kill the tree.