Pruning is the art of removing excessive or unwanted tree branches that are dead or overgrown. Unlike forest trees, landscape trees in our vicinity require a high level of maintenance with an understanding of tree biology to avoid damage to them.
Reasons as to why trees are to be pruned include the following:
- Remove dead branches
- Remove weak or diseased limbs
- To improve form
- To increase light and air penetration to the inside of the tree and the ground beneath it
- It can also be carried out as a preventive or corrective measure to mature trees
- However excessive pruning and removal of foliage through pruning can heavily reduce their growth and the food they reserve.
When to prune
Pruning is best done in the dormant season in late fall or winter but dead branches can be removed at any time. The dormant season is the best time because there is reduced loss of tree sap and the tree is not subjected to stress. Fungus and insect infestation is also highly minimized during the dormant season as it is highly likely that fungus and insects are in dormant state. In the case of deciduous trees pruning when trees have shed their leaves is recommended as it gives a better idea of the resulting shape of the tree.
Examples of trees and when to prune them:
Conifers- they are pruned in late spring or early summer since they take time re-growing after pruning.
Hardwoods- the best time to prune hard woods is in the winter, dormant season or late November to early March. Pruning in mid march to June will ruin them.
Sap trees- are pruned in late spring, summer or early fall when sap flow is minimal.
Fruit trees- should be pruned in early or late spring depending on the tree variety. Regular pruning will improve flowering and eventually increased fruit yield.
Tree pruning can be a heavy task and should be done carefully and with caution in the case of big or overgrown trees.