May 9, 2013
It is arguable that trees are the most valuable landscape element. Care for them and your trees will live a long healthy life. “Proper pruning helps trees live longer,” said Mike Maddox, Horticulture Educator University of Wisconsin. “On the other hand, poor pruning practices, such as topping, make trees less attractive, more prone to pest and weather problems and can actually shorten their life span.”
- Use the right tools.
- Do not prune newly planted trees unless a branch is broken, diseased, or dead.
- Never top a tree, as this leads to poor branching structure and makes limbs vulnerable to breaking.
- Young trees should be pruned to encourage a well-branched canopy.
- When pruning trees, there are several types of branches to remove including:
- Dead, broken, or diseased branches whenever you see them.
- Remove the weaker of two branches that are rubbing together.
- Prune out water sprouts and suckers.
- Occasionally, you may need to remove lower branches on mature trees.
- Pruning wounds are best left unpainted. Tree wound treatments are not recommended for most pruning cuts.
Finally, there is one cardinal rule: never leave a stub, and never make a flush cut. Stubs are unattractive, do not heal over and can result in decay moving into the tree. Cuts made flush to the trunk result in large wounds that take a long time to close. Make pruning cuts just beyond the branch collar.
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