Growing and Maintaining Healthy Trees

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The Art of Effective Pruning: Why it is Important that You Understand the Concept of Tree Pruning

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Pruning, when done right, can extend the life of a tree whilst improving its appearance. Pruning may also be necessary when a tree has become dangerous to a nearby building or is too large for the space it occupies. However, when too much of a tree's foliage is pruned or it is pruned incorrectly, its lifespan may be shortened and it could become easy prey for pests and bacterial infections. A further and more serious risk is that overzealous pruning weakens a tree's structure, leaving it defenceless against high winds. Trees weakened by pruning will be ripped apart by heavy storms, their dislodged branches becoming hazardous in the process.

As a tree owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your tree receives the most appropriate and professional care. Before you make a pruning decision, ensure that your reasons are sound and that you choose a reputable and experienced professional to get the job done.

Understand What Your Particular Tree Needs

Before doing any tree pruning, do a little research on the species. Each tree is unique, which means that they need to be pruned in a slightly different manner. For example, eucalyptus, oak, and mahogany trees all mature at a height of about 35 feet. This height leaves them especially at risk of damage during storms. However, the structure of these trees can be strengthened by:

  1. Pruning away branches that are larger than the trunk to provide strong connections.
  2. Creating adequate spacing of branches along a trunk.
  3. Ensuring that not all branches grow from the same point.

Age too plays a part, as correct pruning throughout a tree's life will result in a tree that is both strong and suited to your particular needs, for example, shade, or fruit production. The point is that knowing your trees makes them easier to prune.

Carefully Examine Young Trees before Purchase

When purchasing young trees from a nursery, ensure that you examine them before making a purchase. Young trees should be pruned and trained to develop a dominant trunk with horizontal branches; aggressive branches should be pruned, branches should be spaced along the trunk and not rubbing or touching. Lastly, young trees should be trained to develop an attractive structure.

Keep these practices in mind when examining young trees at a nursery. If there is no rhyme or reason to the pruning on a young tree, do not select it. However, young trees that have been pruned with the above requirements in mind will grow into attractive and easily manageable specimens for your garden.  

Ensure that You Choose a Reputable Tree Service

All trees can benefit from pruning. Make sure your selected tree service or arborist knows what they are talking about in regards to pruning goals. For example, younger trees can have as much as 25 per cent of their foliage pruned. However, as trees mature, this number drops. For middle-aged trees the number drops to 20 per cent, and for mature trees, 15 per cent. That is why it important that your arborist knows the tree species, its age and what kind of pruning techniques are required.