Pruning Trees – How to Properly Prune a Tree



Thinning is the process of removing individual branches, usually about one-third of the total tree height, from mature trees. This improves air flow and light penetration. In addition, it reduces the wind-sail effect. In order to achieve the best results, thinning should be done in stages, rather than in one big cut.

The most effective thinning should be performed early, before the trees have developed any new growth. This will promote wider crowns and greater diameter, increasing stability against wind, disease, and pests. However, too much early thinning may result in overgrown shrubs and prevent the understory from regenerating properly. Moreover, too late thinning may result in tall and slender trees, which may not be marketable or will develop knots during the timber harvest.

Crown reduction

Crown reduction is a form of tree pruning that focuses on reducing the height and spread of a tree while leaving the shape of the crown. It is a safe pruning method that allows a tree to heal quickly and re-grow properly. To minimize the risk of injury, only reduce about 25% of the canopy at a time. This method eliminates stress on the tree and decreases the risk of branches breaking off in a storm.

There are several benefits of crown reduction. Firstly, it allows more sunlight to reach the center of the crown, which can improve the tree’s health. Crown reduction also reduces the risk of disease. Secondly, it can reduce the risk of damage to property. Taller trees are more susceptible to wind damage, and because the canopy weighs more than the trunk, it can easily topple over. Lastly, a crown reduction can increase the appeal of your home.

Drop crotching

Drop crotching is a technique that can be used on trees to reduce the size without removing too much of the tree. It requires a careful cut just above the branch’s bark ridge. The heel of the pruning knife should be set at a 30-degree angle. If you don’t drop-crotch the tree properly, you risk stubbing the branch, which can be unsightly and create structural weaknesses.

This method is ideal for smaller branches, but large branches must be pruned using a three-cut method. The first cut should be made a third of the way through the underside of the branch, followed by a second cut a few inches above the first. The third cut should be made on the branch collar at a 45-degree angle.

Avoiding a “flush cut”

Avoiding a “flush cut”, or cut that removes the branch collar, is a key part of successful tree pruning. This type of cut allows pathogens and pests to enter the cut, which can damage the tree. Whether you’re pruning a tree for aesthetics or structural reasons, avoid making a “flush cut” whenever possible.

A flush cut is a common pruning mistake that can be avoided by following proper safety protocols. This cut, also known as a ‘heading cut’, eliminates the collar of a branch and leaves only the undersized side branch. It can also be damaging to the structure of a tree by leaving the crown exposed and exposing it to diseases.

Pruning branches that are blocking your walkway

If branches are blocking your walkway, you need to prune them back. Ideally, you should prune branches in the fall or spring. However, you can prune them at any time if you feel they are causing obstructions. Pruning branches that are blocking your walkway will help you keep them healthy and prevent rot.

Identifying trees that need to be pruned

Pruning a tree is a crucial process to keep it healthy and safe for people around it. Proper pruning can promote healthy branch growth and a pleasing canopy. By following proper pruning practices, you’ll cut back on the amount of time required to care for your tree.

To determine which branches need pruning, check for dead leaves or bark. Branches that are dead or dying aren’t essential to the tree and should be removed. Typically, a dead branch will be a brown color that will be obvious if you scratch it. You can also test whether the branch is alive by gently bending it. The bark should be firm and not peeling or loose, and there should be no moss or fungi on it.