How much of a tree should you trim?

Less of that will not achieve much, and more than that can prevent its growth or worse. Because the goal is not to change the size or shape of the tree, thinning must be constant throughout the tree. You only need to remove 10 to 20 percent of tree branches from the edge of the canopy. Large trees benefit from removing the end parts of branches between 1 and 4 inches in diameter.

Small ornamental and fruit trees can be thinned by removing smaller branches between ¼ and ½ inch thick. You need to prune the trees to thin the crown so that the tree looks completely unpruned. In general, young trees should only have about 25 percent of their foliage pruned each growing season. If the tree is in the right place, with fertile soil, these vigorously growing trees have enough energy and strength to support this type of canopy pruning.

Pruning helps control the maximum size of the tree and trains it to grow strong branches on fruit trees that contain heavy fruits. Trimming the canopy allows light to go down through the crown to the lower extremities. This increases photosynthesis in the lower parts of the tree and encourages fruit trees to produce more. How often a tree will need to be pruned may vary depending on the type, size, age and health of the tree.

Usually, most mature trees need to be pruned every 3-5 years, while a younger tree will need it every 2-3 years. A fruit tree should be pruned annually, while some evergreens can last for many years without needing a single cut. Our certified arborist will help you determine the best schedule for your trees. Pruning the tree in late winter or spring ensures that the tree doesn't waste the stored energy making leaves on branches that you'll prune later anyway.

Crown thinning involves pruning a tree to remove specific living branches and reduce the overall density of the tree. Regular pruning throughout the life of a tree reduces the amount of work required and stress on the tree. Excessive pruning can also make the tree more susceptible to wind damage, and poorly made cuts can be vectors by which diseases and pests can enter the tree. Young trees that are improperly pruned or not pruned at all for several years may require intensive pruning to remove larger branches and prevent trees from deforming.

Pruning a tree can improve its appearance, prevent pests and diseases, and help the tree grow strong and healthy. The certified arborist at Ron's Tree Service can help you determine how often an individual tree should be pruned. Trees such as birch, maple, dogwood, elm and other so-called “bleeding” trees lose a lot of sap after pruning in winter, but apart from being a little unsightly, no harm is done to the tree. I recommend leaving large, established shade trees to qualified arborists and tree care professionals.

Save tree care pruning when the tree is actively growing in early spring or completely dormant in the winter months. Tree branches are pruned for multiple reasons, all of which result in a better-looking, better-yielding tree. If you prune a tree too much, the tree can weaken, allowing pests and diseases to take hold. Trees are preparing for dormancy back then, and it's pulling everything good out of their leaves for storage, says Tchukki Andersen, a staff arborist at Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) in Manchester, N.

Donna Kaak
Donna Kaak

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