How Often Should You Prune Trees to Keep Them Healthy?
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How Often Should You Prune Trees to Keep Them Healthy?

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Caring for the long term health of our trees has never been more important than it is right now. But do you know the right way to prune trees to ensure they remain healthy?

Prune Trees

We’re going to go over all the information you’ll need to ensure your trees remain beautiful and healthy. By the time you get to the end of this article, you’ll be pruning trees like a pro.

Why Should You Prune Trees?

There are several key reasons for pruning your trees. Some are simply for the look of your yard, and some are actually good for the health of the tree.

Some people will engage in tree pruning simply to limit the growth of a tree in an undesired area of the property. Pruning a tree away from a roof to prevent a blockage of the gutter is common and strongly advised. If you have a large tree near the home then a 10ft clearance between the roof and the tree branches is more than sufficient to prevent damage or gutter clogging.

In addition to reducing the height and width, pruning encourages growth in the tree. By removing old, weak and dead branches you are giving the living branches a better chance. In addition, pruning triggers growth in the tree itself, encouraging new branches and shoots to emerge.

Pruning also aids in the growth of surrounding trees by reducing crowding. This allows newer or smaller trees more room to grow and absorb sunlight.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t remove more than 15% of a tree’s leaves or branches in a single year. If you are trying to encourage growth then removing any more could have an adverse impact of the tree’s survivability.

What Equipment Should You Use?

It goes without saying that safety should always be a priority. This is especially true when pruning larger trees with tall or heavy branches. With that in mind, a strong pair of gloves, a stable ladder and even a safety helmet and goggles are advised.

When it comes to the tools for pruning, your choice will depend on the scale of the job. Considers should be made for the height, width, and the number of branches to be pruned.

There are lots of great tools out there that will make tree pruning a piece of cake. For smaller jobs, use small hand-held pruning shears or clippers. Loppers or pruning saws are better for thicker branches (2.5 to 5 inches thick).

If you are dealing with a tall tree then, as we’ve mentioned, either use a stable ladder or utilize a pole pruner. These can reach up to 8ft and are great for branches up to 1.5 inches in diameter.

What Is the Best Season to Prune?

It can be tempting to prune a tree in the fall. You have fewer leaves to worry about and it’s often cooler outside, making the work less arduous. However, pruning in the fall can often damage or even kill the tree.

This is because, as we discussed earlier, pruning sends a signal to the tree to grow. Doing this before the tree goes dormant for the winter can cause more harm than good. Pruning causes sap to rise from the pruned area which can then freeze in winter and lead to limb death or even complete tree death.

It is, therefore, best to prune in the spring or early summer months. This gives the tree its best chance at survival and growth. The trees and plants are coming alive in the temperate spring months, so pruning then will further encourage healthy growth.

How Often Should You Prune?

This depends largely on the age and type of tree. Younger trees need pruning more frequently – approximately once every 2 or 3 years. Older and more fully grown trees can be pruned once every 3 to 5 years.

The type of tree also has an impact on how often it should be pruned. Fruit-bearing trees can be pruned much more frequently to encourage the growth of the fruit. However, larger evergreen trees can go for many years without pruning.

We’d recommend researching the specific tree in your yard for the best pruning advice. However, a general rule is to trim once every 3 years to ensure healthy and optimal growth.

Should You Hire a Professional?

Whether you’re buying your first house or just sprucing up your existing home, having an attractive yard can be a real eye-catcher. In fact, attractive landscaping can add value to a home. It can definitely be worth spending the time to prune those trees.

However, there are some tree pruning jobs that are just too much for an amateur arborist. If you have a particularly big tree or a large number of trees on your property then hire a commercial tree removal service. These professionals specialize in examining and cleaning or removing trees.

If you’ve got a job that’s too much, or if you’ve got a tree that has been damaged by wind or storms, a professional is definitely the way to go.

It’s Time for Us to Leaf

Whether as a hobby or for the long-term health of your garden, investing time and attention in your trees can be a relaxing and beneficial pastime. Now that you are armed with the knowledge and tips, you can prune trees in a safe and efficient way. Your yard will be looking beautiful in no time.

If you’re looking for more great tips and advice then take a look at our other real estate articles. There’s something for everyone and you might just find something really useful you didn’t know before

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