DIY pruning may seem like a simple weekend errand but it can actually do more harm than good if done the wrong way. Improper pruning is more than just a landscaping eyesore. While some shrubs can grow back like nothing happened, others may die. Extensive damage is difficult to recover from and fixing bad cuts takes considerable time, care and patience. Before you decide to try pruning your trees yourself, there are some things you need to consider first.
- What’s the goal?
In general, there are a few common reasons to prune like controlling growth, creating special shapes or forms and encouraging flower or fruit production. The main goal of pruning should be to maintain a tree’s beauty and health. You want to avoid any unnecessary damage by doing as little as possible to achieve your specific goal. Removing hazardous dead, diseased or weak plant parts is another reason for pruning. Overgrown trees can become dangerous during storms such as hurricanes. Keeping trees safe is key to protect people and property throughout the year.
- When is the right time to prune?
Timing is an important consideration when planning to prune. In general, the best time of year is during the dormant winter season before new growth has begun but light pruning can be done any time of the year. Dead, damaged and dying wood should be pruned or removed as soon as they’re evident while spring-flowering plants should be pruned right after they bloom. Ultimately, deciding when to prune depends on the type of plant and the desired outcome.
- Do you know the right way to prune?
How much do you prune? How do you cut? How often is pruning needed? Some trees like spruce and pine need infrequent pruning while other trees need a light pruning every year. Learning different types of pruning practices such as thinning, heading and rejuvenation is also essential to determine what type of technique is needed. Ideally, you should remove as little as possible. Over pruning can cause irreparable damage in some cases.
- Do I have the right tools for pruning?
Sharp tools are essential to making good, clean pruning cuts. Without clean cuts, the healing process of the plant will be slow. Dull pruners can damage the plant and make your job even harder and longer. Allowing a plant to grow back after over pruning or extensive damage can require a lot of extra time and patience.
- How and where do I cut?
Cuts should be made outside the branch collar, without damaging it. Branches can be pruned by making three cuts: one is just a notch on the underside of the branch to prevent the bark from peeling, the next cut removes most of the branch further away from the trunk than the first cut and the last cut is a clean cut close to the branch collar.
Pruning can be a daunting landscape maintenance task but these considerations are a good place to start when deciding if you’re ready to take on the job yourself. At Complete Tree Service in Charleston, SC, we are experienced tree pruning professionals and happy to help whether your needs are big or small. When you hire a professional tree service company, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing the job will be completed properly, without damaging your trees and shrubs. Contact us today for your next tree service.