How To Prune A Tree

Why Is Properly Pruning Your Trees So Important?

Properly pruning your tree is not just about aesthetics; it is crucial for their health and longevity. Regular pruning will allow your tree to grow balanced and well-structured, reducing the risk of weak or overcrowded branches. A less crowded crown enables better air flow and sunlight penetration, making a healthier environment for your tree and the surrounding landscape.

How To Prune Trees Correctly

Benefits Of Proper Tree Pruning

One of the primary benefits of proper tree pruning is the reduction of potential hazards. Removing dead, damaged, or diseased branches minimises the risk of falling limbs, which could cause injury or damage to property. 

Regular pruning also helps eliminate weak and crossing branches, reducing the likelihood of storm damage. Addressing these issues early can prevent expensive repairs and help safeguard your family, neighbours and the public.

In addition to safety, pruning your trees offers aesthetic benefits. Strategic trimming allows for better shaping, creating a more pleasing form. It can enhance the natural magnificence of the landscape, making your property more visually attractive. 

Moreover, proper pruning can encourage new growth, leading to healthier foliage and more vibrant colours.

Common Tree Pruning Mistakes To Avoid

While pruning is essential, avoiding common mistakes that could harm your trees is equally important. 

One common mistake is over-pruning or “topping” your trees. 

Topping involves cutting off the entire upper portion of the tree, resulting in weak and unsightly regrowth. 

Instead, we recommend following the tree’s natural growth pattern and selectively pruning branches as needed.

Another mistake is improper pruning cuts. 

When pruning, it’s essential to make clean cuts just beyond the branch collar, the swollen region at the branch base. 

Correct pruning promotes proper healing and reduces the risk of disease or decay. 

How To Prune Your Tree Without Damaging It

How To Prune A Tree

Here are a few points that may further your knowledge about pruning your trees and the best way to do it: 

  • Pruning cuts must be as close to the branch collar as possible. The branch collar is the branch’s base, where it attaches to the parent branch or the tree’s trunk. 
  • You must avoid making flush cuts. Flush cuts are cuts made too close to the tree or main branch. It destroys the tree’s primary defence system and exposes the fresh wood to infection.
  • Flush cuts lead to a reduction of energy reserves in the area around the cut. Large cankers often form around flush cuts (cankers are dead sections of bark on branches or main trunks of trees).
  • Excessive sprouting may occur due to flush cuts that severe barrier zones, exposing layers of defenceless wood and stimulating dormant buds to sprout everywhere.
  • This growth spurt will deplete the energy reserves trees usually save for defence.
  • When pruned correctly, the tree will form a circle or “doughnut” of callus around the cut, covering the opening with specialised tissue. 

When is the Best Time to Prune Trees?

When it comes to tree pruning, timing is critical. The optimal time to prune trees depends on the species, climate and the purpose of pruning. 

Generally speaking, it’s best to prune deciduous trees during their dormant season, late winter or early spring. Pruning your trees during this timeframe allows the tree to heal more rapidly, reducing the risk of disease transmission.

However, some trees, such as flowering trees, have specific pruning requirements. For example, if you want to promote flowering, it’s best to prune these trees immediately after they bloom. 

On the other hand, you can prune evergreen trees throughout the year, but it’s advisable to avoid pruning during extreme weather conditions.

For further information, visit our dedicated article regarding the best time of year to prune trees in the UK

Tools, Techniques and Tips for Tree Pruning

When pruning trees, having the right tools and using the correct techniques is essential. 

Some standard tools for tree pruning include pruning shears, loppers, chainsaws, and pole pruners. 

The choice of pruning tool will depend on the size and type of tree and the branches you need to prune.

When pruning a tree, it’s often best to begin by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased branches. 

Next, selectively remove crossing or rubbing branches to improve airflow and lower the risk of damage. 

It’s crucial to be mindful of the branch collar and make clean cuts outside it. As mentioned previously, you must avoid making flush cuts. 

If you need clarification on pruning techniques or dealing with larger branches, it’s best to consult a professional arborist.

Safety Precautions When Pruning Trees

Tree pruning can be hazardous, especially when tackling tall trees or using power tools such as chainsaws. 

Always wear appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), such as gloves, safety glasses, and a helmet. 

Chainsaw trousers, gloves, a helmet with a visor, and ear defenders are necessary if operating a chainsaw.

If working at height, use a sturdy ladder or hire a professional tree surgeon with the necessary equipment and expertise.

Before pruning, assess the area for potential hazards, such as overhead power lines or weak branches. 

If utility lines are nearby, contact the utility company to check for safe clearance, and in some cases, they may clear the lines for free.

Additionally, be wary of falling branches and plan a clear escape route should an emergency occur.

You should also have a first aid kit and a mobile phone with a signal nearby. 

Hiring a Tree Pruning Professional

While homeowners can do some tree pruning tasks, there are instances where hiring a professional tree surgeon is the best option.

Certified tree surgeons have the appropriate knowledge and equipment to assess your trees’ health and prune them correctly. 

Furthermore, tree surgeons can identify potential issues, such as disease or insect infestations, and provide appropriate solutions.

When choosing a tree surgery company, look for certified arborists and tree surgeons who follow industry best practices. 

Request references and ask about their insurance coverage to protect against potential damages. 

A reputable tree contractor will provide a detailed estimate and explain their pruning methods.

DIY Tree Pruning Tips

If you decide to prune trees yourself, following proper techniques is vital to avoid causing harm. 

Begin by pinpointing the branches that need pruning back and plan your cuts accordingly. 

Make clean cuts outside the branch collar, leaving no stubs or jagged edges. 

If you need help with the best approach, consult a tree pruning guide or seek advice from a professional arborist.

Remember that pruning large or tall trees can be dangerous, especially without the correct training and equipment. 

If in doubt, hiring a tree pruning expert is always safer.

The Impact Of Improper Tree Pruning On Tree Health

Improper tree pruning can have detrimental effects on tree health and longevity. 

Topping, excessive pruning, or incorrect pruning cuts can stress the tree, leaving it more susceptible to pests, disease and environmental stressors. 

If you top your trees, it can also lead to decay and decay-causing organisms, spreading throughout the tree and impacting its overall health.

By following the best pruning practices, you’ll help ensure the well-being of your trees for years to come. 

Our Tree Pruning Service In Surrey and the South East

While there is nothing to stop you from pruning your trees, it’s much safer and more efficient to employ the services of a qualified tree specialist.

We provide a full range of insured tree pruning services throughout Surrey, including crown reductions, lifting, thinning and deadwooding. 

We’re happy to prune trees in Woking, Guildford, Chilworth, Milford, Godalming, Bramley and Farnham, plus any other local town or village. 

For a free tree pruning consultation, site visit or a no-obligation quotation, contact a Guildford Tree Surgeons team member today.

Visit our dedicated tree pruning page to learn more about our professional tree pruning service in Surrey and the South East