How do you prune trees?


Quick Answer

Prune trees using cutting tools appropriate to the size of the tree or shrub in early spring or late summer. Pruning is done to maintain the health of the tree, direct growth and increase fruit production when applicable.

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Full Answer

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.

To prune the tree, identify any broken branches on the tree and any branches that are growing in opposition to the desired tree shape. These branches need to be removed to maintain the safety of the area beneath the tree and ensure tree health.

A foot from where the branch meets the tree, make a small cut in the underside of the branch a third of the way through. Make a second cut into the top of the branch an inch further from the tree than the first cut. Keep cutting until the branch snaps off of the tree. With the weight of the branch removed, cut along the trunk to remove the remaining part of the branch.

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.

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