What is tree pruning?
Tree pruning is a horticultural practice that involves selectively removing certain parts of a tree to improve its health, shape, or appearance. Pruning is often necessary to remove dead or diseased wood, promote better airflow and enhance sunlight penetration. In addition, tree pruning methods can be used to redirect the growth of the tree.
Proper tree pruning can help trees stay healthy, prevent them from becoming hazards, and improve their overall appearance. However, improper tree pruning methods can damage trees or even kill them. It’s important to consult a professional arborist before attempting to prune a tree on your own.
Tree Pruning methods- What are they?
Tree pruning can take various forms. The tree pruning method used will vary depending on the needs of the tree and the goals of the pruner. Some common pruning methods include:
Removing small branches throughout the crown of the tree to reduce density and improve light penetration.
Crown thinning is a tree pruning method that involves selectively removing small branches throughout the crown of a tree, which improves light penetration and airflow. The overall goal of crown thinning is to reduce the density of the tree’s crown without altering its overall shape or size.
During crown thinning, we will remove branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other, as well as any dead or diseased branches. We may also selectively remove some healthy branches to allow more light to penetrate through the tree’s canopy. Thinning the canopy can help promote the growth of grass, shrubs, or other plants beneath the tree.
Crown thinning should be done carefully and selectively, so as not to remove too many branches or alter the shape of the tree. When done properly, crown thinning can help to promote a healthy, well-balanced tree that is less susceptible to disease and pests. Furthermore, proper pruning will improve the appearance and aesthetic value of the tree.
Also known as ‘deadwooding’. This tree pruning method involves removing dead, diseased, or damaged wood from the tree’s crown.
Crown cleaning is the process of removing dead, dying, or diseased branches from the crown (upper portion) of a tree. It is a tree pruning method used to promote the health and safety of trees by eliminating branches that may be hazardous or impede the tree’s growth.
During crown cleaning we would carefully inspect the tree for dead, dying, or diseased branches.
Crown cleaning can also include the removal of crossing or rubbing branches, as these can cause damage to the tree’s bark and create entry points for disease and pests.
We may also remove ‘watersprouts’ (vigorous shoots growing vertically from the trunk or branches), and ‘suckers’ (shoots growing from the tree’s root system). By removing these branches, the tree can direct more energy towards producing healthy foliage and fruit, rather than wasting resources on branches that are not contributing to the tree’s overall health and structure.
It’s important to note that crown cleaning is different from crown thinning, which involves the removal of entire branches to allow more light to penetrate the tree’s canopy. Crown cleaning is a less invasive tree pruning method that primarily focuses onremoving specific problem branches.
Removing the lower branches of a tree to increase the clearance between the ground and the lowest branches of the tree’s crown.
The goal of crown lifting is to create more space beneath the tree, allowing for easier pedestrian and vehicular access, as well as providing more light and air to the area beneath the tree.
Crown lifting is typically done by removing the lower branches of the tree up to a certain height, usually around 2 to 3 meters above the ground. This can help to improve visibility, increase access, and reduce the risk of damage to the lower branches from vehicles or pedestrians.
It’s important to note that crown lifting should be done carefully and selectively, to avoid damaging the tree or creating an unbalanced or unsightly appearance. A professional arborist should be consulted to determine the appropriate height for crown lifting and to ensure that the tree pruning is done safely and effectively.
Selectively cutting back the outermost branches of the tree to reduce its height or spread.
Crown reduction is a tree pruning method that involves selectively removing the outermost branches of a tree’s crown to reduce its height or spread. The goal of crown reduction is to reduce the overall size of the tree while maintaining its natural shape and form.
During crown reduction, we will carefully select and remove specific branches from the outermost edges of the tree’s canopy. This can help to reduce the overall weight and stress on the tree, making it less susceptible to damage from storms or heavy winds. Crown reduction can also help to improve the overall health and appearance of the tree, by promoting more balanced growth and improving light and air circulation within the canopy.
It’s important to note that crown reduction should be done carefully and selectively, to avoid damaging the tree or creating an unbalanced or unsightly appearance. A professional arborist should be consulted to determine the appropriate amount of pruning needed for crown reduction and to ensure that the pruning is done safely and effectively
Cutting the tree back to a specific point in order to promote new growth.
Pollarding is a pruning technique that involves cutting a tree back to a specific point in order to promote new growth.
Pollarding is typically done on young trees, and involves cutting the trunk back to a point just above the lowest branches, and then removing all branches above that point.
The goal of pollarding is to create a “head” of new growth at the top of the tree, which can be selectively pruned in subsequent years to create a specific shape or size.
Pollarding can be done for a variety of reasons, including to create a dense hedge, to control the size and shape of a tree, or to produce a source of firewood or fodder for livestock.
Pollarding can also help to rejuvenate an older tree that has become overgrown or unsightly, by promoting new growth that is more compact and attractive.
It’s important to note that pollarding is a severe form of pruning that can stress the tree and leave it more susceptible to disease and pests.
Pollarding should ideally only be done on young, healthy trees, and should be done by a professional arborist with experience in this technique.
Furthermore, once a tree has been pollarded, it is especially important that the tree is regularly reassessed and undergoes regular maintenance as required.
How do I know when a tree needs pruning?
There are several signs that a tree may need pruning, including:
Dead, diseased, or broken branches: If you notice any branches that are dead, diseased, or broken, it’s a good idea to have them pruned to prevent the spread of disease or the risk of injury from falling branches.
Overhanging or rubbing branches: When tree branches rub against each other, they can cause wounds that allow disease or insects to enter the tree. Overhanging branches can also pose a hazard to people or property, and may need to be pruned back.
Too much foliage or poor light penetration: If a tree has too much foliage or is blocking light to other plants, it may need to be thinned or pruned to allow for better air and light circulation.
Irregular growth or shape: If a tree is growing unevenly or has an irregular shape, pruning can help to reshape it and promote more balanced growth.
Storm damage: If a tree has been damaged by a storm, it may need pruning to remove any broken or damaged branches and prevent further damage to the tree.
Surely I could do that myself right?…..WRONG!
In general, it’s a good idea to have a professional arborist inspect your trees regularly to determine if they need pruning and to ensure that any pruning is done safely and effectively. If a tree isn’t pruned correctly, it can lead to a variety of problems, including:
Structural issues: Over time, trees that are not pruned correctly can develop weak or unstable branches, which can pose a safety hazard to people and property. Branches that are not properly pruned can also become heavy and cause the tree to lean or become unbalanced.
Disease and pests: Trees that are not pruned correctly can be more susceptible to disease and pests, as dead, diseased, or damaged branches can provide an entry point for pathogens and insects. Over time, this can weaken the tree and make it more vulnerable to further damage.
Reduced lifespan: Trees that are not pruned correctly may have a shorter lifespan, as they are more likely to develop structural issues, disease, and pests that can cause them to die prematurely.
Poor aesthetics: Trees that are not pruned correctly may have an unattractive appearance, as they can become overgrown and unkempt. This can detract from the overall beauty and value of a property.
Liability: If a tree that has not been pruned correctly falls and causes damage or injury, the property owner may be held liable for any resulting damages or injuries.