Despite what Punxsutawney Phil declared, spring is right around the corner. Soon the flowers will be in bloom, but before you get caught up in the earthy magic of this season, make sure that your plants are ready for the changing weather. Any certified arborist will tell you that pruning is essential tree care for your landscaping, and we are certified arborists, so…
Here’s a quick spring guide to tree pruning to help prepare your yard for the warmer months ahead.
When to Prune
A certified arborist considers several factors when it comes to providing the best tree care. When you prune your tree will depend on a couple of things, like the kinds of trees on your property.
First and foremost, if your tree is a flowering tree, such as a ornamental cherry or crabapple, you want to prune after the tree blooms. This is generally in late May or early June, depending on where you live. Waiting a little longer prevents excessive flower bud removal, as flower buds were formed during the previous Autumn.
Tree pruning can vary among flowering, ornamental trees, as some are more sensitive to branch removal. For example, redbud and flowering dogwood are better pruned in late winter or early spring, around February or March, to prevent excessive bleeding, and to speed wound recovery.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a fruit tree, the best time to prune is also late winter or early spring. This will allow enough time for wound healing while helping the tree divert more energy to flower buds, and the formation of fruit, rather than vegetative growth.
Tree Pruning for Other Varieties
For all other trees, late fall to early spring are fine times to prune. It’s easier to see the structure of a tree once it’s lost its leaves for the year. Although, not all trees shed their foliage. A certified arborist can help you determine the best time for tree pruning in your yard.
How to Prune
While tree pruning may seem like a simple process, certified arborists use certain tools and techniques to ensure proper tree care. First, when cutting the branch, a cut that is slightly sloping down and out from the top to the bottom of the branch ensures that moisture drips off of the cut.
This helps prevent dampness that can lead to fungal or bacterial infections. Likewise, it’s best to prune as close to another branch or the trunk as possible, depending on the size of your cut, so that excessive dead material will not remain. When pruning, it’s also best to remove dead or injured material first, as this can lead to further damage.
A certified arborist may remove branches that rub together, particularly ones that cross through the middle of the tree. This helps prevent damage while improving air flow.
What Tools to Use
The basic tools are a hand pruner, a lopper and a pole saw. Hand pruners are best used for soft wood or small branches less than a 1/2 inch in diameter. Loppers come in various sizes, but are generally sized to cut limbs that are 1.5″ or thinner. For anything bigger, a manual or engine-powered pole saw will get the job done.
Regardless of the tool, a certified arborist will make sure that the blade is sharp to make the cleanest possible cut. They will also wear gloves and protective eye wear, since branches can have a mind of their own.
When cutting infected material, certified arborists will also use alcohol to sanitize the blade after tree pruning in order to prevent infecting other plants.
Talk to a Certified Arborist
At Sexy Trees, we pride ourselves on offering the best tree care possible. We hope the above guide answers some of your questions about spring tree pruning. I you have other questions or feel like this is a messy job you don’t want to tackle on your own, please reach out by calling us at 925-233-6877. You can also read client testimonials by clicking this link.