Many of us treat trees as a natural backdrop, and do not tend them with the same level of care as the other plants in our gardens. But the truth is, there are many reasons why you should take as much time with your tall garden friends as you do with those that bloom or produce close to the ground. Your whole garden will thank you, and your trees will provide lovely, overarching shade for years to come.
Pruning Mature Trees for Safety
While we may think that trees take care of themselves, there are a number of reasons to prune them. Dead branches, boughs, and other parts of a tree can pose a serious danger to property, and the safety of people. While in the forest, deadfalls are a natural part of the scenery, in the more cramped and managed confines of land parcels that constitute property, a deadfall can mean a serious injury. It can also entail a major repair project to the roof of your home or garage, broken windows, or other damaged personal property, such as automobiles or garden furniture.
Beyond obviously ailing branches and boughs, it’s important to keep an eye on the overall health of your mature trees. When the system of a tree begins to degrade at its center or roots, a process that can take many seasons or happen suddenly, depending on the cause. However, when the trunk or root system is no longer viable, a single wind event, such as a storm, can bring it crashing down.
Pruning to Promote Growth and Health
With newly planted trees, pruning can serve as a way to shape and promote healthy growth patterns for your new garden friends. You should, at the time of planting, only cut back broken, diseased, or dead branches. During the first dormant season, you can begin to train them into the shape you desire, but never cut the leader branches.
Pruning growing trees can serve as a way to promote healthy growth and development, but with many hardwood and deciduous trees there are no clear leaders, so you should leave pruning to professionals. However, many homeowners prune evergreen trees in order to promote a healthier tree, a tidier shape, and a better overall appearance.
Pruning at any time, especially while the tree is young, can offer your trees the chance to grow in a healthy pattern. When first planted, your tree may have crossing or circling roots, which will cause problems later on, due to a disruption in how the tree obtains and distributes nutrients from the soil. As well, young trees often produce crossing branches. These will inhibit each other and tangle further growth over time. As well, crossing branches may offer an increased chance of large deadfalls later on in their lifespan.
Another reason to prune young trees is to remove new branches and growing twigs that angle back toward the trunk. These inhibit a healthy shape for your young tree, and will cause problems farther down the road.
There are many reasons to prune trees, but all of them lead to better tree health and a more lovely appearance. Just remember that when you decide pruning should be done, you have the correct tools and knowledge, or you contract with an expert. Incorrect pruning can easily harm your trees more than it helps them.
Scottsdale Tree Trimmers is a Scottsdale, AZ-based tree trimming and removal division of American Tree Masters.