Following up on last month’s post, Tree Pruning – Part I, here are some additional pointers:
When to Prune
The dormant season, late fall or winter, is the best time to prune although dead branches can and should be removed at any time. Pruning during the dormant period minimizes sap loss and subsequent stress to the tree. It also minimizes the risk of fungus infection or insect infestation as both fungi and insects are likely to be in dormancy at the same time as the tree. Finally, in the case of deciduous trees, pruning when the leaves are off will give you a better idea of how your pruning will affect the shape of the tree.
How Much to Prune
When deciding how much to prune a tree, as little as possible is often the best rule of thumb. All prunes place stress on a tree and increase its vulnerability to disease and insects. On no account, prune more than 25% of the crown and ensure that living branches compose at least 2/3 of the height of the tree. Pruning more risks fatally damaging your tree. In some cases, storm damage, height reduction to avoid crowding utility lines or even raising the crown to meet municipal bylaws, your pruning choices are made for you. But even in these instances, prune as little as you can get away with.
Advice regarding tools is pretty straight-forward. Buy the best tools you can afford and keep them in good condition.
Recently, a number of new and innovative tools have come on the market that are extremely useful to a homeowner.
A new and safe way to cut high tree limbs – pull the ropes to prune while standing on the ground.
|Pole Pruner & Lopper
A versatile pole pruner that can be attached to any standard-thread extension pole. Includes 14-inch pruning saw blade and 1-inch lopper.
| Folding Pruner
A versatile, folding pruning saw that can be attached to any universal extension pole for long reach. Lightweight and robust.
|Portable Buck Saws
Extremely lightweight and collapsible. Perfect for the homeowner, gardener and camper.
After each tree you prune, remember to disinfect your pruning tools in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water followed by cleaning with soapy water and then drying. Tree diseases are easily spread by infected tools. Finally, if you’re not skilled in the use of tools like chain saws or if the pruning job is more than you’re capable of managing, hire an expert. Safety first.
Free PDF Guide
For an excellent free guide on tree pruning published by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the National Arbor Day Association, and the University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources: Click Here.