What You Should Know About Tree Pruning
There are many reasons why you might need to prune a tree such as damage, disease, the need to thin the crown or reduce the height, shaping, and removing obstructing branches. Before you prune there are some things you should know.
Do You Seal the Wound?
Trees will naturally close a wound, including the wound that results from pruning branches. Ideally, you should leave a pruning wound to close on its own without help from you. Generally, pruning should be carried out in late fall or winter, so insects shouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, if an insect infestation is a potential problem, then it is preferable that you seal the wound using a non-asphalt-based pruning sealer. In addition, when the weather is extremely dry, the use of a pruning sealer will help the tree be able to retain moisture.
When Do You Prune?
For the majority of trees, late fall or winter is the dormant season and therefore the best time to prune. However, you can remove dead branches anytime. When you prune during the dormant period, it will minimize the amount of sap loss and therefore the stress to the tree. This will also reduce the risk of a fungus infection or an insect infestation, because both are more likely to be dormant during this time.
If you are pruning deciduous trees when the leaves are off you will have a better idea of how the pruning is going to affect the tree shape. There are some fruit trees and flowering trees that should be pruned at a different time of the year.
After you prune giving your tree fertilizer can help the pruning wound heal faster and reduce the tree stress.
How Much Should You Prune?
When you are deciding on how much to prune your tree, always use the rule ‘less is best.’ Pruning stresses a tree and increases the risk of disease. Never take more than 25 percent off the crown and always make sure that 75 percent of the height of the tree is made of live branches.