4 Common Pruning Questions

Now that winter is in full swing, it is a great time to take care of any trimming and pruning needs your trees may have. Here is a list of questions and answers you may have regarding the pruning.

Number 1. What is pruning?

Sometimes phrases can lose their meanings, or their meaning changes over time. It helps save from any miscommunication when we take a minute to clearly define terms used in discussions. In this case, pruning is simply cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems from a tree, shrub, or bush. When these sort of cuts are made, the plant responds. In order to have the desired effect, it’s important to apply a little strategy here.

Number 2. What are reasons to prune?

There are three major reasons to prune a plant. The first is the safety of the people and property around. If there are dead branches that could cause harm to people when it falls, it would be better to prune it away in a controlled situation than wait for a wind storm to blow it down on top of anything/anyone nearby. The second reason to prune a plant is related to the overall health of the plant. When limbs are dead, diseased, or hindering growth in another way, pruning back some of the branches helps the plant begin to rejuvenate. Often, when the growing points of some limb is removed that will invigorate and reinforce the remaining limbs. The nutrients that would have gone to the removed limb are now offered to the remaining limb. The third reason to prune is view enhancement. Pruning helps train the tree to keep a proper shape. Whether that’s for the visual appeal, structural integrity or simply preventing the tree from hitting some power-lines, pruning encourages growth and when done right, growth in a manner that brings beauty to the landscape.

Number 3. Does pruning plants hurt them?

In short, yes. Cutting the tree often exposes the more vulnerable parts of the tree to damage. However, there are many ways to limit the damage, and there are still many good reasons to prune the plants anyway. Much like when a mother tells the child who says the medicine burns, “that means it’s working”. Sometimes the little harm inflicted is nothing compare to the benefit that comes later.

Number 4. What should you keep in mind when you are considering pruning? Why should you call in a professional?

First and foremost, consider the time of year. The late fall and winter months are the perfect time to trim up your trees for many reasons:

  • The trees themselves are dormant, this will reduce sap loss.
  • Potential threats to the tree are also dormant.
  • Insects and fungus that would take advantage of a fresh cut will be asleep giving the tree time to heal.
  • The leaves have fallen off the plant so there is clearer visibility for you to see what you are doing.

Depending on what limbs need to be removed sometimes specialized equipment is needed to better guarantee the tree’s health and people’s safety. When pruning, you are often looking for the sick limbs, limbs that have the potential to fall and cause damage. These limbs might be in positions that do not have easy access, so highly trained professionals are your best bet to safely conduct any tree preservation. Additionally, some plants have specific needs regarding how they are pruned. These are specific needs that a tree professional would be aware of and would be able to support while tending to the plant.

Pruning is a delicate balance from start to finish. You don’t want to prune too much but you also want to make sure that the desired effect is accomplished. We want to encourage the trees to grow healthy and safely. If you have any trees, shrubs or bushes on your property that you have concerns about, give us a call and we will schedule a time to give you a free estimate regarding how we can help you help your plants. Request an appointment by filling out our contact form here or call us at 253-797-3621.

Work Cited:

Vossen, Paul. Ten Basics of When and How to Prune Fruit Trees. 30 Nov. 2018, [link external=”true” href=”http://cesonoma.ucanr.edu/files/27164.pdf”]
Vintage Tree Care. Why is Pruning Important? Jan 14 Vintage tree care inc. 11/30/18 [link external=”true” href=”https://www.vintagetreecare.com/why-is-pruning-important”]

Albertarb. The Dangers of Not Properly Pruning Your Trees. 22 July 2014, Alberta Arborists. [link external=”true” href=”https://www.albertaarborists.com/News/The-Dangers-of-Not-Properly-Pruning-Your-Trees”]