If you’re like most people, you don’t have a clue about pruning a tree. You’re likely to take a scissors or shears and “go to town” cutting things off your yard trees haphazardly, never paying much attention to how it’s done. That said, there are some basics to being a good tree pruner.
Tips to Become a Quality Tree Pruner
First, to prune a tree, you’ll want to inspect it with your eyes. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom of the tree. Look for areas that look awkward to you, in the sense that a certain branch seems too long or, perhaps, dead. Make a mental note of the “odd” ones. It’s best to get the whole picture of the tree in your mind before cutting it, rather than just “going in for the kill” randomly.
Next, there’s such a thing as the ⅓ and ¼ rules of pruning. You don’t want to remove more than ¼ of a tree’s crown in a season, meaning you don’t want to get rid of too many branches and such. Trees need a sufficient amount of branches and leaves to live. As for the ⅓ rule, this says that main side branches of the tree should be at least ⅓ smaller than the diameter of the trunk. Also, for leafy trees don’t prune up from the bottom any more than ⅓ of the tree’s height. And when pruning, try to make angled cuts that are ⅓ off vertical with the trunk. In other words, if the branch was a clock, make the cut(s) at 10 and 2 o’clock.
Some people paint tree wounds for aesthetic reasons. You don’t have to do this unless you just want it to look “nicer” and/or a “certain way.” Painting a wound doesn’t prevent or reduce decay.
You should use sharp tools for pruning because it’ll make the job a lot easier. When working on young trees that aren’t fully developed yet, many pruners recommend using the one-hand pruning shears you can buy at your local lawn and garden shop. Ones with curved blades are best.
For bigger, older, taller trees, it’s best to hire a professional to do the pruning. You can always contact New Jersey’s reliable Big Foot Tree Service for more information at 973-885-8000.