Tree Pruning

All trees will need pruning from time to time.  The ideal time to prune most trees, evergreen and deciduous, is in the winter or early spring while they are still dormant.  This allows you to clearly see the structure of the tree.  Pruning while the tree is dormant also reduces the likelihood of pest and disease because they cannot function at this time of year.

Young trees especially need annual care to create good structure that will ensure good form and health of the tree through its life.  Large, mature trees may need a major limb removed, the crown thinned or overall height reduction for view preservation. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering tree pruning.

  1. At planting, any damaged branches should be removed by providing a clean cut to eliminate the damaged area. It is essential that twine or any other constricting item such as label tags be cut to prevent the tree from girdling. If there are competing leaders, one should be selected and the others removed.
  2. Trees that have been planted for 3-5 years may show root or crown suckers; these need to be removed.  Thinning of the crown is often needed to reduce competition for light and nutrients. A few of the lowest limbs should be removed. Crossing branches and narrow angled branches should also be removed.
  3. Trees are usually settled in their home and showing more vigorous growth at 5-7 years.  Continue to limb up the lowest branches to a comfortable height for humans. Each year dead, damaged, or diseased branches should be removed.  Cut back or remove branches that interrupt the overall form of the tree.
  4. As the tree matures it should be inspected while dormant for dead, damaged and diseased branches.  If the work is above 12’ from the ground, a licensed arborist should be contracted.

Remember that you never want to take more than 1/3 of the tree per year.  All pruning stresses the tree and increases its susceptibility to pests and diseases. Be conservative.

North of South Landscapes Inc is happy to help you with those young, impressionable trees.  We also specialize in shrub pruning.  Please schedule with us in the fall and early winter.