Understanding Proper Pruning Techniques: A Brief Guide

Spring heralds the time when most property owners dust off their pruners and start reshaping their trees and shrubs. However, few property owners know the best pruning techniques to preserve their trees’ health. Learn what to do when removing branches from Spruce Up Tree Care’s tree trimming service in Memphis, TN. 

pruning techniques

Preparation

Before making any pruning cuts, make sure you have personal protective gear and sterilized trimming equipment. Protective equipment should always include:

  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Sturdy ladder
  • Spotter

Even if you have these resources, you might need assistance from professional pruning services for particularly high-up limbs.

After gathering the necessary protective equipment, choose the right tools for the job. A small pair of pruners for thinner limbs and larger pair for stronger, more robust branches should work well. Ensure that you sterilize the blades with alcohol before pruning. 

Pruning Practices

Certain pruning techniques protect the tree’s health while encouraging future growth. You want to ensure each pruned branch leaves a clean cut that heals quickly. Jagged, broken branches take longer to heal and can act as disease vectors. 

Where to Cut

You’ll find the branch ridge and collar at the bases of the branches of a tree. These parts encircle the area where the branch meets the trunk. Prune the branch right above the collar and ridge for a clean wound that closes quickly.

Although you can locate these anatomical parts on mature trees, you might struggle to find them on young trees. If you can’t locate the ridge and collar, ask for assistance from professional tree trimmers. 

How to Cut

When you apply the pruning shears to a limb, you should hear a loud snap as the blades cut into the branch. After removing branches, you should observe a clean, straight, diagonal cut. Jagged cuts indicate blunt shears and can negatively affect plant health.  

When Not to Cut

Although most trees benefit from annual pruning sessions, not all branches need pruning. You shouldn’t prune a branch if you notice any of the following:

  • New growth such as leaves, flowers, or fruits forming along the branch
  • Drought or flood conditions that could stress a tree out
  • During the winter when the tree goes dormant

Pruning branches from a stressed, dormant, or actively growing tree could cause extensive damage that invites infections, infestations, and diseases. Thus, pruning in early spring before trees begin awakening is best. 

Aftercare 

After using proper pruning methods, you should need minimal aftercare. Most trees will heal on their own and need no assistance. However, you should sterilize your pruning tools after use. This will prevent bacterial growth that could later infect your healthy trees during subsequent pruning sessions. 

Let Professionals from Spruce Up Tree Care Demonstrate the Best Pruning Techniques 

Now that you’re familiar with professionally recommended pruning techniques, see if you know the difference between pruning and trimming. If you need assistance with your trees at any point or aren’t sure whether you can handle a particular pruning task, reach out to Spruce Up Tree Care. Call 901-833-8242 for a free estimate. 

  

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