4 Common Tree Pruning Mistakes to Avoid


Over time, tree branches and leaves can grow and become unsightly and may even extend to your neighbour's property. That's why routine maintenance is important, especially for trees growing on residential and commercial properties. Tree lopping and pruning may help restore your yard back to a neat, beautiful and safe state. Sadly, some trees are subjected to lousy maintenance through incorrect cutting and pruning practices, and this eventually ruins their growth potential, causing them to die. For homeowners who prefer DIY tree lopping, here are four common mistakes to avoid to make sure the trees remain healthy and beautiful after pruning.

1. Over-pruning

Pruning is necessary to get rid of dead limbs and branches, in addition to stabilising the tree, especially when it's overgrown. What is unacceptable is over-pruning, which involves the removal of too many branches and foliage. According to accepted standards for tree care, no more than twenty to thirty percent of the foliage should be cut in any year. Over-pruning poses harmful effects on the tree's health, structural integrity and aesthetic value. Strategic pruning is advised, and it involves cutting the bad pieces or parts so that the plant seems unspoiled or untouched.

2. Tree topping

Experts agree that you shouldn't top your trees. Topping is the drastic cutting or removal of a tree's canopy, akin to shaving a hedge. The effect is reduced foliage and an unsightly tree shape. Topping takes a shorter time than applying the expertise and judgment required for strategic pruning. Nevertheless, the actual repercussions of topping are severe. Your tree might starve to death with the removal of its crown and may be vulnerable to insects and disease. Plus, the tree is left weaker.

3. Wrong tree cuts

Apart from knowing which branches and limbs to cut, DIY homeowners should know how to correctly cut a branch or limb without endangering the future health and development of the tree. When you cut off a branch together with the tree trunk, you endanger the tree's healing mechanism because the tree collar is also cut off. In the absence of a tree collar, the tree is usually left with an exposed wound and thus is vulnerable to attacks by insects and diseases.

4. Poor timing

Summer is not the ideal time for pruning. Summer tree pruning may add more stress to the tree, which is already using its energy resources to grow and develop new leaves. It's advisable to prune during winter when the tree is dormant. The exception is that dead branches can be cut anytime.

If you're unsure of the right way to lop off a branch or limb, seek the services of a professional arborist.


11 January 2018

Using Your Trees for Fun, Form and Function

Hi, my name is Christine. As a lifelong lover of the Shel Silverstein book "The Giving Tree," I have always been interested in the many different relationships one can have with a tree. I own a relatively large property with several trees, and I have worked hard to make those trees an essential part of my life. Some of my trees provide me with food, others provide me with energy-efficient shade that reduces my air conditioning bill and others create recreation opportunities for my kids in the form of treehouses or swings attached to the trees. Still other trees boost my property values just by being beautiful. If you want ideas about using your trees for fun, form and function, please explore this blog.