8 Pruning Techniques Experts Regularly Use To Take Care Of Your Trees

What if your beautiful trees were ugly eyesores waiting to happen?

To keep your trees beautiful, you must master multiple pruning techniques. However, many homeowners don't know the first thing about the pruning process.

Interested in trimming trees but you don't know where to start? Keep reading to discover these 8 awesome techniques!

1. Make a Plan

Ever hear the phrase "measure twice, cut once?" That is exactly how you should approach proper tree pruning.

We have assembled a variety of solid tips and techniques in this guide. However, not everyone is doing to do all of this in the same order.

It's important to come up with a game plan for pruning before you get started. This lets you know what equipment you'll need to buy. And if you're lucky, good planning will ultimately save time on pruning.

2. The Right Cuts

If you're completely new to pruning, then you'll need to work on your basic technique. This mostly consists of learning the right way to cut tree limbs.

For instance, most pruning involves basic hand tools (more on this later). And your standard cut should be about a quarter inch above buds that are facing outwards from the plant.

Try to make your cuts at 45-degree angles. The goal of this is to help the healthy limbs avoid things like disease and damage from water.

Good pruning helps determine the direction of any new growth. That's also important for the overall look of your yard.

3. All About Timing

Sometimes, it's not just about knowing how to cut. It's also about knowing when to cut.

Nothing keeps you from pruning your trees at any point throughout the year. However, doing so at different times will give you different results.

If you actually want your trees to grow quickly, it's important to prune them during the winter. When spring rolls around, you will see a high degree of growth.

However, if you want to slow trees down in terms of growth, you should prune during the summer. This can slow overall growth while giving you the chance to more easily control the direction of that growth.

Keep in mind the best timing may vary from tree to tree.

4. Training the Plant

Another major factor is the age of your trees. Are you pruning an older tree or a younger one?

If the tree is younger, then pruning can be used to "train" it. This means focusing on things like competing branches and avoiding pruning the central leader of the tree.

Training also lets you gradually remove the lower limbs of a tree. You shouldn't remove those all at once. Instead, you should space this process out over several years.

All of this helps "train" the tree to grow in a certain way. It also lets you customize the tree to your needs. Some people like lower branches for wind protection, for example, while others like higher branches for improved home visibility.

5. Down With the Thickness

Some tree branches are going to be thicker than others. And for really thick branches, there are some specific pruning techniques you should use.

First, find a spot about 18 inches up from the target branch's underside. This is where you should make the first cut.

Next, move up about an inch and make the next cut. The idea is to keep doing this until the branch falls down.

The final cut should center around the branch collar of the trunk. Cut from outside of that branch collar, but try not to leave any stub sticking out. Making that cut at a 45-degree angle can help the tree hold onto water, which is necessary to keep the tree healthy.

6. Damaged and Diseased Branches

We've talked a lot about how to cut. However, many first-time pruners have a simpler question: where should the cutting start?

Generally speaking, you'll want to target diseased and damaged branches first. The reason for this is resource management for your tree.

In any given day, the tree is only going to get so many nutrients from things like sunlight and water. And these nutrients must be distributed throughout every branch.

Branches that are damaged and diseased are basically wasting these resources. And by doing proper tree pruning on these target branches, you can ensure that the healthier branches get more of the resources they need.

7. The Right Equipment

What equipment do you need for pruning? This basically comes down to what kind of pruning you are doing.

Small branches can be pruned with hand shears. These are good for branches that are to half an inch in diameter.

Lopping shears are designed for two hands and are better for bigger branches. Some versions of these shears can cut branches that are up to two inches in diameter.

Pole pruners are best for cutting branches high above you. Just make sure not to let anything fall on you while you work!

There are also hedge spears, but as the name implies, this is more for shearing hedges than trees. However, they are a great tool in your toolbox for yard maintenance and landscape installation.

8. A Crown and a Plan

Earlier, we talked about pruning your trees for specific purposes. This mostly boils down to whether you are thinning the crown or raising the crown.

Thinning the crown is when you remove excess branches without otherwise changing the size or shape of the tree. That usually means removing no more than twenty percent of the limbs.

Raising the crown is when you raise the bottom of a tree's limbs. This is usually done to increase visibility and either offer a better view from the home or a better view of the home.

With crown raising, you must watch the balance between crown and trunk. If there is more trunk than crown, it puts the entire tree's health at risk.

Pruning Techniques: The Bottom Line

Now you know more about the best pruning techniques. But do you know who can help with all your pruning needs?

Green Topps is a lawn care service that has been in business for decades. To see how they can make your home look better than ever, check out their tree services today!

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