Although pruning a tree in your property may seem straightforward, there are several things you should be aware of before you begin. When you prune the tree, how you prune it and how much you remove can all make a difference to the overall health of the tree. Let's look at the process of pruning a tree correctly.
You will need some equipment to help you complete this task correctly. Make sure that you have eye protection, gloves, a set of hand held pruners—or secateurs—and a hand saw. Once you have these, the first thing to do is to assess the tree you intend to prune. Make a note of any damaged or diseased branches, and look for branches that are overlapping each other. It is important to identify the 'skeleton' of the tree, that is, the main trunk and all the large or major branches; you should not prune or cut these.
When to Start Pruning
The best time of the year to prune a tree is just after Fall or as Winter approaches. The tree will sit dormant over the Winter, giving it a chance to recoup after any pruning work you carry out. Also, if you prune in the hotter months, the production of sap from the tree may attract insects; the number of insects around during the cold months will decrease. In addition to this, the actual sap production from the tree will also decrease at this time of the year. Keep in mind that you should remove about a quarter of the branches, and no more, to maintain a healthy tree.
Use the secateurs to remove any small and damaged branches first. Once you have removed these, continue with the secateurs, and begin to thin out any areas that are thick or dense. You need to ensure that the tree has air circulating around the branches and leaves; this makes for a healthy tree. You can also remove any branches that interfere with any paths or walkways you have in your yard.
Avoid Collar Cutting
It is important not to cut the branches back so that they are completely flush with the trunk of the tree.All trees have what is known as stem collars; this is the small knob of bark that the branch grows from. Make sure that you leave this collar in place, and cut a little away from it. The tree will be able to regrow a branch if it has been cut this way.
For large branches, use a saw and make a cut on the underside of the branch first. Then, when you cut from the top of the branch, the first cut will help the branch to fall off safely.
For more tips or assistance, consult companies like Waratah Tree Services.