Tree Pruning Methods
Pruning is a routine landscaping task done for numerous reasons, some of which include improving the health of a tree, helping the tree grow to its potential, maximizing its aesthetic value and removing hazardous branches for everyone’s safety.
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There are a number of ways to prune your trees to achieve the desired goal of good light, air circulation, good shape, and health. The four most popular methods are listed below.
Crown thinning is a tree pruning method that focuses on reducing the density of the tree by removing specific branches. It focuses on facilitating air circulation and improving sunlight penetration and therefore does not require huge alterations to the size or shape of the tree. Usually, around 10% to 20% of the branches are removed. For larger trees, crown thinning involves trimming the outer ends of tree limbs that are 1 to 4 inches thick. In smaller trees such as fruit trees, the trimming could involve removing limbs that are 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick. Crown thinning is most commonly employed for older, mature trees. This pruning method is supposed to trim trees in a fashion, which leaves the tree looking unchanged.
This tree pruning method involves cutting down the lower branches of the tree, thereby elevating its crown. It is usually done because the crown is getting in the way of something such as the traffic, the view or a building. However, removing a lot of the lower branches too soon can be bad for the health of the tree, making it weak, Therefore the process of crown raising should be a gradual one, done over a long period of time. It is best to remove a few limbs, which are 4 inches thick, each year when pruning the tree. In the process of crown raising, it is of particular import to keep an eye on the tree’s overall balance as the size of the tree’s crown can affect the health of the tree. For conifers, they need their crown to be at 50:50 ratio, crown to the trunk. For deciduous trees, the optimal balance ratio for crown to trunk is 60:40. If in the process of crown raising, the trunk’s proportion goes over its optimal limit, the tree can be considerably weakened.
Where crown thinning involves the removal of tree branches for density thinning, crown reduction is a pruning method that focuses on removing old growth and encouraging new development. In this method, a few select limbs are pruned back to lateral branches strong enough to bear the added weight of the remaining limb. This method is key for strengthening a tree and is most commonly used for older, mature trees.
Crown cleaning refers to the removal of the dead, diseased and broken branches. While it can be done any time of the year, it is essential to include it in your pruning plans whatever they may be: crown thinning, crown reduction and crown raising. Crown cleaning plays a key role in maintaining and improving the overall health of the tree, in protecting the tree from future damage, in making it safe and in improving the overall landscape.
Tree pruning is necessary for the health of the trees. It is key to making sure that the tree remains strong, adds value to the aesthetics of the environment and does not become a source of danger for others. Which method will be ideal for you will depend on your trees’ requirements.