Pruning is a great way to get your trees looking the way you want them to but that’s not the only benefit. You’ll also be able to direct the growth, and influence flowering or fruiting. A properly pruned tree is also safer. When you remove broken, diseased, dead, or dying branches you eliminate the risk of them falling on surrounding structures or people.
So what shouldn’t be pruned?
Avoid pruning newly planted trees unless there is a broken, diseased or dead branch. New trees need foliate to produce carbohydrates that are then transported to the root system for initiation of new roots. You want to give young trees 2 – 5 years to establish themselves.
What should be pruned?
Root suckers and watersprouts are vertical shoots that should be obvious to pinpoint and should be pruned. If you have an area where there is an overcrowding of branches you can thin accordingly.
When should you prune trees?
Fall and winter are the best times to prune. You’ll be able to see the overall branch structure more easily, and most insects and disease causing organisms are not active. If you do prune in late winter or early spring some trees may bleed or ooze sap excessively. It may be unsightly but will not harm the tree.
Once you have your trees looking beautiful they’ll be ready for a nice bed of mulch to highlight all your hard work.