As it grows cooler and trees go dormant, we begin to consider what winter pruning might need to be done. Pruning is important to your tree’s health. It keeps your trees looking great and growing at an optimum rate. Pruning is used to shape a tree. It is used to keep some trees to a size that the homeowner want. It is used to remove diseased or decaying branches. There are also safety reasons to prune a tree.
- Limbs that are dead, broken, or crossing each other
- Limbs that bend inward
- Competing or co-dominant main stems
- Large, sharp v-shaped branches
- Root suckers
- Do not leave branch stubs
- Keep low branches short
- Make cuts just outside the branch collar
Pruning a large limb can be dangerous to both the tree and the pruner if done incorrectly. Follow these basic steps to safely prune large limbs:
- Make the first cut on the bottom of the branch 1 – 2 feet from the branch collar.
- Make the second cut on the top of the branch until it reaches the first cut.
- Once the limb falls off, cut the remaining stub just outside the branch collar.
If you are a homeowner trimming your trees, please consider the danger that can be involved in removing large limbs – especially if they are high in the tree. You probably have the equipment needed to trim trees that are 5-10 years old – loppers, a hand saw, a ladder. If you need to use a chain saw to trim your trees, you should call a certified arborist. They have both the training and equipment (safety chaps, lift trucks, etc) necessary for the job.
For more information, go to the US Forest Service website.