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Should trees be pruned?
In short, absolutely! Tree care and management is a pretty big deal. First and foremost it ensures the safety of your trees by the removing deadwood and branches with weak branch unions.
Tree should be pruned on a regular basis to not only ensure their safety, but for a host of other reasons such as increased curb appeal of your home, reduces heating costs, eliminates day time mosquitos and saves native birds from stalking cats.
If you want to know some more amazing benefits of pruning your tree, check out this article, but read on for a bit more technical stuff.
How often should I get my trees pruned?
There isn’t a straight answer to this question as the pruning cycle for trees in your yard would depend on several factors.
On an average you will need to get trees pruned every 3 to 5 years depending on their species and also the growth characteristics of the trees. Young tress need to be pruned every two to three years while matured trees would require pruning every five years or so.
There are other factors that may call for pruning that include –
• You feel a branch has developed weakness and is about to fall
• The tree is approaching overhead electrical lines
• The tree is posing threat to your neighbours’ property
• The young tree needs to form its structure
How much should be taken off each time?
Again it will depend on a number of factors such as the specie of the tree as different trees require different levels of trimming and how long since it has been pruned last if at all.
Ideally you would not want to prune more than 10 – 15% off each year. This is the rate at which trees grow, so if you have a regular pruning schedule, then keep it below that.
If the tree has not been pruned before or it’s been a few years, you can prune up to 25%.
There are instances when you might need to prune a tree to avoid it from reaching electrical lines or for building clearance.
The decision on how much should be taken off during each trimming job should be based on your goals with trimming and also based on the expert advice provided by your arborist.
Why dead branches must be removed?
A dead branch poses great danger to your tree, persons and property. Dead branches become a highway to allowing infestation of insects and fungi. The sap of a healthy tree performs many functions, one of which is to drown any insect that tries to burrow in. Leaving dead branches on your tree allows then to tunnel straight in unhindered.
Once they have infested in the dead portion of the tree they quickly start spreading to the healthy parts of your tree.
Even without pests and disease, dead branches eventually come loose and fall. Best case scenario is they will smash roof tiles or dent your car. Worst case is someone happens to be under the branch when it falls.
Will the tree grow faster after a trim?
If the tree has been pruned by an expert you can expect it to grow faster. There are several reasons that accelerate the growth of trees after they have been pruned by professional arborists.
Tree pruning encourages the roots of the tree to grow stronger and hence has a snowball effect on growth above the ground also the tree starts growing faster. When you remove 10 – 25% of the dependant limbs of a tree, you are freeing up resources which the tree can put to good use on other parts of the tree like new growth and fruit/ flower production.
Can trimming hurt or kill the tree?
You may have come across several blogs and articles where people have rued the loss of a tree after it was pruned. What many of them carefully ignore revealing is the fact that either they tried pruning the tree themselves or hired unskilled person for the job.
A pruning job that goes wrong can kill a tree, but generally only when done by a weekend wonder. This is why you should hire a professional arborist.
Most of the time a tree is lost by pruning too much off, poor pruning techniques, pruning the wrong time of the year or using contaminated tools from the last prune which infect the next tree.
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Is cutting the top off a tree bad?
Tree topping or pollarding as it is called is the process of chopping off the top portion of the tree.
In most cases it is a bad thing, especially on trees that grow large such as pine trees and eucalyptus. There are times when it is ok, such as form smaller decorative trees that grow no taller than 15 feet high or in cases where a tree was planted in the wrong spot and the top portion of the tree nearing electrical lines.
Why is it bad?
It deforms the natural growth of a tree which has it shooing out suckers from its bark to form a new branch. This is bad because those suckers keep growing and are not actually correctly attached to the tree like a normal branch. They are only attached by the bark and can easily come down in a stiff breeze.
The topping of a tree cannot be undone and in the case of palm trees cutting the top off will kill the tree.
DIY Vs. Professional Arborist
If you are a DIY enthusiast who fixes everything from electrical fixtures to plumbing problems, you may think of trying your hand at pruning trees for the love of the experience and also to save some money.
To be honest, after watching some YouTube videos there is nothing wrong with having a go yourself.
WARNING: You should never attempt to work with trees above ground level. Tree trimming using a ladder is extremely dangerous and anything larger than 10 – 15 feet should be left to a professional arborist.
If you care for trees and your own safety, call a professional arborist to handle the job. There are plenty of cost effective tree trimming companies in your area.
Here are some reasons why a pro arborist is probably a better choice especially for larger trees –
Not everyone with a chainsaw in hand can prune trees. Tree pruning or management is a highly skill demanding job. From choosing the portions of the tree to be removed to manoeuvring a chainsaw tens of feet above the ground requires high levels of skills and professional equipment, training and experience.
You can’t acquire those skills reading through the DIY guides.
Tree pruning is one of the most hazardous jobs on the planet. Even seasoned arborists break their limbs and some have even lost their lives resulting from a bad fall.
You will put a lot at stake if you try and attempt this by yourself. Arborists make use of high-end safety gear and plan out the entire project based on their experience.
Tree management requires much more than a chainsaw. From safety gear to ropes and harnesses, cranes and a professional team. You may need to spend a small fortune to hire necessary equipment yourself anyway.
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