How Do You Prune a Tree?

How Do You Prune a Tree?

Pruning small trees is relatively easy and the method involves making several cuts on the branch part of the stem collar. One very important aspect when pruning trees is to protect the main trunk or stem of the tree while making the cuts. This encourages a faster healing of the pruned portion of the tree and also protects the other branches that are growing on the stem.

Pruning trees is known to promote good tree health and helps to make ornamental trees look more pleasant. While large trees are best left to professional cutters who have access to proper equipment for the job, just about anyone can prune smaller trees, which range from about 12 to 25 feet in height.

Small shrubs and young trees are easily trimmed using lopping shears or pruning saws. Trees or mature shrubs with branches exceeding a 2- to 3-inch diameter require pole pruners or a chainsaw, using necessary safety equipment. Disinfect tools with full-strength mouthwash or rubbing alcohol to avoid spreading disease amongst the trees.

Tree branches grow from nodes on the stem. The branch and the stem is divided by tissue called a stem collar and all pruning should be done on the branch side of the stem in front of the stem collar.

The following shows how to properly prune branches from a tree:

Step 1: Cut a wedge

On the branch side of the stem collar, cut a wedge on the underside. This will help prevent the bark on the branch from tearing into the stem.

Step 2: Create a stub

Just further up the branch from the wedge, cut the branch downwards completely. This will leave a stub on the stem collar.

Step 3: Trim the stub

Cut the branch off completely at the branch side of the stem just in front of the stem collar to trim off as much of the stub as possible.

After broken and crossing branches are removed, look for water sprout limbs that grow straight up from the trunk and branches. Removing these protects the tree from disease.