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Pruning is one of the most common and essential tree maintenance procedures performed. Proper pruning, in general, helps maintain the health, safety, and beauty of trees...
Removing undesirable branches and twigs from a tree or shrub is know as pruning. It is important to know why, when and how to prune before you attempt to do it on your own.
Reasons For Pruning:
There are many reasons why a tree may need to be pruned:
When To Prune:
The ideal time for pruning can vary according to species, as well as on the reason for pruning. However, here are some general guidelines:
How To Prune:
Before you prune your trees and shrubs yourself, make sure it's something you can do on your own. If it is a job that requires a chain-saw, ladder work, or more, you should consider hiring a professional, like Almstead, to do your pruning. Here are the basics of pruning which may useful information, even if you are hiring someone else.
Bypass Pruners – good to cut small branches approximately ½ to ¾ inch in diameter.
Loopers – designed to cut wood ¾ inch up to 1 ½ inch in diameter.
Pruning Saws – can easily cut wood up to 3” in diameter.
Hand-held pole saws and a hydraulic lift with a bucket are used to prune large trees. Safety is always an important issue -- note the helmets, gloves and safety goggles used by these Almstead technicians.
Clean-up and disposal is an important part of pruning large trees. Professional tree service companies, such as Almstead, use chain saws and wood chippers along with chip dump trucks to carry away the wood chips.
There are generally three types of cuts used in arboricultural pruning:
Thinning Cut (Branch Removal Cut)
A Thinning Cut is the removal of the entire branch or limb at its base. Thinning cuts are employed to remove an entire limb or branch where crowding occurs. The cut should leave a smooth surface with no jagged edges or torn bark.
Reduction Cut (Lateral Cut)
This shortens a branch and is used when reducing the size of a tree. The remaining limb is capable of sustaining the parent branch. A common rule of thumb is to cut it to no less than a third of the removed portion. This will keep the limb alive and also suppress excessive sprouting in many species.
Heading Cut (Topping or Lopping Cut)
A Heading Cut refers to cutting back a portion of a branch to just above a healthy bud or side branch. This type of cut is useful for shortening branches or to redirect their growth. They are usually not appropriate for mature trees. When heading cuts are used to reduce the height or size of trees it is know as topping. This practice is generally discouraged by arborists because it both unhealthy for the tree and makes it look disfigured.
Bark Ridge >
The final pruning cut should be just outside the Branch Bark Collar -- cutting into the collar amounts to cutting into the trunk.
Properly pruned ornamental plants look more attractive, grow healthier and more vigorously, and improve the overall value of your property. Pruning also reveals the natural branch structure, prolongs flower production, and improves clearance and visibility on your property.
Although pruning shrubs is a simple concept, it is crucial that it be done correctly and at the right time. At Almstead, we offer a customized, hand-pruning program for your shrub material. Each visit is specifically tailored to address your shrub collection and their individual bloom cycle. We can also include to prune perennials, if desired. Here's what we can do for your shrubs:
Early Spring (Mid-March to Mid-April)
At this time, we prune away dead, broken and diseased branches and any winter damage. We also prune to shape each shrub tailored to its species and bloom cycle. Partial list of shrubs to prune: crape myrtle, butterfly bush, barberry, burning bush, viburnum, repeat blooming roses, 'peegee' hydrangea...
Summer (August to Early-September)
In late summer, we focus on reducing and shaping the second flush of growth, and removing dead, broken or diseased plant parts. Partial list of shrubs to prune: select Hydrangea, Privet, select Evergreens...
Fall (October to Mid-November)
At this time, we focus on select pruning as required for prepping for dormancy. We concentrate on removing dead, broken or diseased plant parts and restoration and rejuvenation pruning to prepare for winter and spring growth based upon species.
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