Since becoming our Tree Care Operations Manager and a self-confessed tree hugger, I’ve found an awesome analogy when talking about the importance of pruning trees when they are young.
Trees are like children. Provide them with good shape and structure early and they’ll grow up sturdy and strong.
We’re talking hardwood trees – maples, oaks and the like. Whether planted at residences, shopping centers or places of business, it’s best to prune these trees when they are two to 15 years of age. Pruning focuses on branches that are dead, dying, diseased or dangerous.
Pruning young trees also eliminates what we call co-dominant leaders. Having two or more trunks is almost always a disadvantage in the long-term, especially during a wind event.
There are many advantages: Pruning cuts in young trees leave a smaller wound, lessening the risk of damage, decay and infection. Removing small, young branches now means less pruning down the road. It’s also less expensive than removing branches from bigger, well-established trees. Pruning at-risk limbs also reduces the threat of damage or injury from falling limbs. Pruning in a shopping center or other public place will also improve traffic and pedestrian flow and guarantee motorists a clear view of road signs.
Pruning can be done any time of the year, but it’s best to get the job done during the dormant season, from December to February. With no leaves on the trees, crews can see what needs pruning. If we’re talking about a large number of young trees, at a shopping center for example, it’s best to get on a pruning schedule.
So raise your trees like you raise your kids. Give them structure early and they will grow up tall and strong. And remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Arborscapes is happy to answer your tree pruning questions, see what you’ve got to prune and get the job done. Call us at (704) 525-7148.
A self-proclaimed tree hugger and preservationist, John has more than 20 years of experience in arboriculture. He earned an Associate Degree in Horticulture Technology from Central Piedmont Community College and became a Board-Certified Master Arborist in 2012.