What is Pruning?
Pruning is the removal or trimming of branches or roots on a tree or other plant leaving an open wound. Roots should only be pruned on plants that are younger and branches should only be pruned at the proper time to prevent causing more damage to the tree. (1 and 5)
Types Of pruning
Espalier - (See Above Photo For Example) Originating in Europe this is the use of pruning to train a tree to grow flat and creating a shape to the growing. This is convenient for the growth of fruiting trees along walls or in small yards that may have other structures in the way. Unlike thinning or topiary this is usually done to smaller trees for the decorative effect instead of focusing on the health or vigor of the tree. (7) A pruning shears can be used when the branches are still small to train them to grow in the fashion that you desire and to clip the small branches that are growing off course.
Crown Thinning – This is the removal of live branches. Thinning is done to not only balance a tree to make it more structurally appealing but also to keep branches from rubbing which can cause injuries that may lead to decay within the tree. It may also be used to reduce the amount of weight on the tree. If there is a need for more wind flow or more if the tree is causing too much shade on the vegetation around it, crown thinning is good solution to this issue. (6,7, 5)
Crown Reduction – This is the practice of removing branches back to the branch collar. Crown reduction is used to reduce the crown size to either prevent a tree from invading another structure or to keep a tree smaller. The other structures vary from power lines, roof eaves, and other trees. This can also be done to prevent storm damage or to correct storm damage that has already occurred. If a smaller crown is desired crown reduction should be used to reduce the amount of branches, it is important the reduction is done evenly and the tree is not waited too heavily to one particular side. Not only is that visually unappealing but can also harm the tree in a loading event. (1, 12)
What equipment do i need? when do I ask for help?
There are many different tools that can be used both power and hand tools. It is suggested to call a professional arborist if you want to keep a tree healthy and growing strong. Arborists are also available to help if you are concerned about the health of your tree or if you need assistance in the selection and planting of new trees as well. Some of the equipment that are used for pruning are featured below; the use of a chainsaw, lopping shears, or pruning or hand saws are important in both thinning and reduction of the crown. The smaller branches don’t require as much horsepower and the smaller the tool the easier to reach small and tight spaces while a pruning shears can be used for smaller branches like those you would encounter in an espalier pruning situation.
- A chainsaw can be used for things like thinning and reduction and especially useful for large branches that need to be pruned away as it cuts down time and labor. (7) Because chainsaws are large and sharp machines and larger branches can do some serious damage if not removed properly, it is important that you have training and understanding of the use of a chainsaw and safety procedures or contact a professional to trim large branches for you.
- Hand shears are mostly used for shrubbery and hedges however they can be used for smaller branches that are up to ¼ inch diameter and roots. These are useful in small topiary pruning and also espalier pruning, the hand shear is also easy to transport. (7)
- Lopping Shears are for larger branches. Lopping shears have a longer handle and can cut through a branch up to 1.5 inches. (7)
- Pruning saw can be used for thinning a small tree or larger branches on a topiary. (7)
- Pole pruners, which are saws on a long handle can be used to reach higher branches and are used for thinning branches out of reach, these branches should be small to medium sized as large branches will take too long and are more because the saw is on the end of a long pole it is strongly encouraged that you avoid power lines and other objects can cause harm. (7)
1 Bedker, Peter J., Joseph G. O'Brien, and Manfred E. Mielke. "How To Prune Trees." U.S. Department of Agriculture(2012): n. pag. Northeastern Area. USDA Forest Service. Web.
2 Desrochers, Annie, and Francine Tremblay. "The Effect of Root and Shoot Pruning on Early Growth of Hybrid Poplars." Forest Ecology and Management 258.9 (2009): 2062-067. Web.
3 French, Susan C. "Publications and Educational Resources A Guide to Successful Pruning, Pruning Deciduous Trees." A Guide to Successful Pruning, Pruning Deciduous Trees. Virginia Cooperative Extension, 1 May 2009. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.
4 Sherali, Hanif D., Antoine G. Hobeika, and Chawalit Jeenanunta. "An Optimal Constrained Pruning Strategy for Decision Trees." INFORMS Journal on Computing 21.1 (2009): 49-61. Web.
5 "Root Pruning Guidelines." Landscape Plants. University of Florida, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.
6 Clark, James R., and Nelda Matheny. "The Research Foundation to Tree Pruning: A Review of the Literature." Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 2010. 36(3): 110–120 The Research Foundation to Tree Pruning: A Review of the Literature 36.3 (2010): 110-20. International Society of Arboriculture, 26 Apr. 2010. Web.
7 Dana, Michael, and Philip Carpenter. "Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs." Department of Horticulture - Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
8 Kuhns, Michael R., and Douglas K. Reiter. "Tree Care and Topping Beliefs, Knowledge, and Practices in Six Western U.S. Cities." Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 35.3 (2009): 122-28. International Society of Arboriculture. Web.
9 Ryder, C. M., and G. M. Moore. "The Arboricultural and Economic Benefits of Formative Pruning Street Trees." Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 39.1 (2013): 17-24. Web.
10 Smiley, E. Thomas, and Bruce R. Fraedrich. "Pruning Standard to Maintain Landscape Trees."Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
11 French, Susan C., and Bonnie Lee Appleton. "A Guide to Successful Pruning: Stop Topping Trees!" Virginia Cooperative Extension, 1 May 2009. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.
12 Gilman, Edward F., and Nathan J. Eisner. "Structural Pruning of Shade Trees."Pruning Shade Trees in the Landscape (n.d.): n. pag. University of Florida | IFAS Extension. Web.
13 Gilman, Edward F., Brian Kempf, Jim Clark, and Nelda Matheny. "Structural Pruning Shade Trees." (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
14 "Pruning Young Trees." Tree Owner's Manual (n.d.): n. pag. Trees Are Good. International Society of Arboriculture. Web.
15 French, Susan C. "A Guide to Successful Pruning: Pruning Basics and Tools." Virginia Cooperative Extension, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.
16 Duplissis, John. "When Is the Best Time to Prune?" Stump the Forester. University of Wisconsin - Extension, 18 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.