Tree Pruning Mistakes to Avoid — Tree pruning is an essential factor for maintaining healthy, beautiful trees. However, pruning can often be performed incorrectly causing more damage than good. Improper tree trimming can damage the health of the tree.
Over-pruning can interfere with the tree’s ability to dispense water throughout the tree and conduct photosynthesis.
5 Tree Pruning Mistakes to Avoid
Trimming at the wrong time of the year can stress the tree and overexpose it to sunlight. Pruning can be done right just as easily as it can be done wrong making it important to be well informed on the pruning mistakes to avoid in order to ensure quality pruning that will benefit your trees.
1. Raising the Canopy Too High
It can be tempting to raise the canopy of the tree extra high so that more sunlight can get to the grass below. Trimming too many of the tree’s large lower branches, however, can compromise the overall health of the tree.
When the tree’s lower branches are trimmed off entirely, the tree can struggle to deliver nutrients and water efficiently throughout the tree. The process of photosynthesis can become stunted as well. Your tree needs its interior lateral branches and foliage to stay strong. The lower bark on the trunk can also become overexposed to heat from the sun, further damaging the health of the tree.
2. Trimming at the Wrong Time
When it comes to tree pruning, there are times during the year that are better than others. You should make sure to work with the tree’s natural cycles and only trim in the tree’s offseason. Trees that are in the process of sprouting new branches and leaves are already stretched to the limits of energy resources. Further inundating the tree with stress from trimming can overwhelm the tree.
There are also several factors to consider when it comes to timing. The sun can damage areas of the tree that aren’t acclimated to direct sunlight. Avoid heavily pruning the tree’s west-facing branches in the heat of the summer. Maples and red oaks are especially susceptible to sun damage. The excess sun makes it difficult for these species to heal wounds to the bark and other damage.
In certain areas of the country, oak trees can have issues with wilt disease in the spring season. Pruning them during this time can spread the disease to neighboring trees. For most trees, between early winter and spring is the best time for tree trimming.
The most effective way to determine the ideal time of year for pruning your trees is to contact a trusted and experienced tree service company; they will have the extensive knowledge needed to recommend pruning at just the right time.
3. Over Pruning
Raising the canopy too high is only one way in which over-pruning can take place. Anytime you trim more than 15 to 20% of a tree’s foliage the tree will be more susceptible to developing problems. In general, 5-10% is the ideal amount of foliage to trim. People often over-prune because they want more sunlight to get to the turf beneath.
This technique rarely works because the tree will still block the majority of the sunlight even when it’s over-trimmed. It is more effective to remove select trees in order to allow for more overall sunlight and then care for the remaining trees properly with the right pruning techniques. Trees that are pruned too heavily will have a hard time processing nutrients and dispersing water throughout it’s remaining branches.
4. Incorrect Tree Cuts
When removing tree branches, especially large ones, it can be tempting to trim too close to the trunk of the tree. Also called flush cutting, this technique damages the trunk by removing what’s called the branch collar. Trees need this branch collar because it contains specialized cells that help heal the damage caused by the cut.
When you make a cut too close to the trunk, you run the risk of robbing the tree of its ability to heal itself. Flush cutting can result in a rotten hole forming in the side of the trunk or lead to weakened branches that have an increased risk of falling. Other incorrect cuts will create an unsightly aesthetic appearance as cuts are exposed and it can even damage the bark of the tree.
5. Tree Topping
There is no greater pruning mistake than tree topping. Tree topping occurs when the entire top section, or the crown, of the tree is removed. Sometimes people feel the need to top trees to get them out of the way of power lines, other trees, or structures that they have grown in contact with.
Tree topping can cause permanent damage and disfigurement to the tree that is not only unattractive but can also lead to insect infestations, rot, and weakened branch structure.
Avoid a Pruning Mistake, Trust the Professionals
The best way to avoid a costly pruning mistake is to entrust your trees to pruning services from a professional tree trimming company. At Nevada Tree Service in Las Vegas, Nevada we have extensively trained and highly knowledgeable tree care technicians with the experience needed to provide safe and effective tree pruning service. Through a professional tree trimming service, you can ensure that your trees stay beautiful and healthy.