Pruning Trees - What to Avoid and How to Do it Right
Pruning is a really important part of tree care, but it is useful only when it’s done in the correct way. Improper techniques can irreparably damage trees, leading to shorter lifespans of your trees and a higher risk of branch or trunk failure.
Well-pruned trees can provide you with years of shade and enjoyment. Pruning done properly reduces the many risks associated with trees; eliminates possible problems with buildings, streets, and pavements; improves the structure of the tree, and makes them really attractive. A good Tree Surgeon always makes a concerted effort to achieve desired goals while causing as little damage to the tree as possible. In most cases, correct tree pruning will remove only dead branches and a minimum amount of live tissue. When unusual circumstances mean that more live branches need to be removed, a good Tree Surgeon will plan the work for dormant periods of the year and will spread the pruning over a couple of seasons when possible.
To help keep your own trees strong and healthy, please avoid the following practices:
Wrong practice: Topping
A common myth is that trees sometimes get too tall and should be topped to make them safer. In fact, the long-term result of topping is to make trees less safe. New growth from topping cuts (also called heading cuts) tends to be poorly attached. There is also more extensive decay at the site of heading cuts. As the new branches get larger, they frequently break away from the tree and fall.
It is sometimes prudent to reduce the size of trees. Some species are brittle and tend to overextend themselves. Pecan trees are a prime example. In addition to developing long, arching branches, they can get very heavy when the fall crop of nuts is at its fullest, and branches commonly break under these loads.
The correct way to reduce a tree's canopy is to reduce branches from the tips. By making proper pruning cuts that shorten the longest limbs, we can reduce both the weight of the branches and also the amount of area that will be caught by strong winds. If you imagine holding a small dumbbell or other weight, it is much easier to hold it close to your body than with your arm extended. This same principle applies to trees.
Removing a small amount of strain at the end of a branch makes a big difference in how much stress acts on its entire length.
Wrong Practice: Lion-tailing
Also called "poodle-dogging" or "stripping out," lion-tailing is the removal of a large part of the interior growth in a tree. It is sometimes called "removing suckers" by uninformed tree workers. In fact, interior branches are not sucking anything from the tree; they are doing just the opposite. Every leaf on a tree creates energy from sunlight through a process called photosynthesis. This energy is transferred throughout the tree, where it is stored in the roots and woody tissue as starches and sugars. These stored compounds help the tree survive through stressful times, such as drought or soil compaction.
When interior branches are removed, the tree loses some of its ability to produce this energy. But there are more reasons to avoid lion-tailing. When all the interior growth is removed from a tree, the bark is suddenly exposed to sunlight. This can lead to sun scald, which often causes the bark to die and exposes the interior wood to decay. The result is weaker limbs that may be likely to break years later.
Also, small branches support large branches. The diameter of a parent branch will be larger ahead of the side branch than beyond it. The greater the taper of a branch, the stronger it will be. When all the leaves and side branches are at the very ends of a long limb, there is a very little taper, and the branches are more prone to breaking. Because all of the weight and wind load are pushed to the ends, they have a greater effect on weak points in the limb, making them still more likely to break.
But that is not all. When interior branches are retained, they dampen the effects of wind movement on the parent branches. Each side branch dissipates a little bit of energy, so more side branches means more dampening. Again, the parent branches are less likely to break.
Finally, interior growth offers an opportunity when extreme weather, mechanical damage, or some other cause does break a limb. Rather than having to make a heading cut that will lead to problems down the road (see "Topping" above) or take the entire branch back to its point of origin, we can often save part of the broken branch by cutting it back to an interior limb.
So, the correct way to prune a tree is to retain as many interior live branches as possible. We try not to remove green tissue unless it is broken, it hangs too low over the street or sidewalks, or it is causing damage to structures underneath. There are exceptions (see "Topping" above), but a good arborist knows that a successful pruning job will result in mainly dead branches going into the chipper or brush trailer at the end of the day.
Wrong Practice: Overpruning
Continuing on that same note, removing too much live tissue is bad for trees regardless of where it comes from. Industry standards recommend never to remove more than one-third of a tree's living branches in a single season. Prudent arborists try never to remove more than one-fourth. When we take more than that, the tree loses huge potential energy production and large amounts of stored energy (in the form of starches and sugars). At the same time, it must expend energy to seal over the numerous wounds created. All the while, the tree must continue to support remaining branches and roots. The tree is forced to rely on stored starches and sugars, depleting reserves. A tree that is overpruned thus becomes more susceptible to dying as a result of outside stressors, such as drought, insects, or diseases.
The correct method is to avoid removing more than one-fourth of a tree's living canopy in any one year. If larger amounts must be removed, it is better to reduce the targeted limbs gradually over two or more years. When large amounts of green tissue must be pruned from a tree, it is best to wait until the tree is dormant in the winter, or nearly so in the summer. After a severe reduction, a tree should be left to recover at least two years before any further pruning is done.
Wrong Practice: Overlifting
"Lifting" a tree's canopy, also called "limbing up," is a necessary part of a tree's life in urban environments. Branches that are too low can damage cars, houses or other structures. When low branches extend over a street, passing vehicles can break them off the tree, which is much more devastating to the tree (not to mention the vehicle) than is a pruning cut. When the tree is low over a sidewalk or lawn, people can be injured and turf grass can suffer.
Though good arborists routinely lift low canopies, it is important to avoid doing too much at one time. A good rule of thumb is that, when viewed from a distance, the bottom one-third of the tree should be stem and the top two-thirds should be canopy (leaves and branches). Having more low branches is not a problem for the tree, but having less means the trunk will have less taper, thus be more prone to breakage (see "Lion-tailing," above). Also, the lost leaf area will lead to diminished energy production, forcing the tree to rely on stored energy reserves (see "Overpruning," above).
When low tree branches on a young tree conflict with the above guidelines, the correct way to deal with the problem is to cut the problem branches off gradually over two or more years. By taking the ends of the low branches back to a lateral, we slow the growth of that branch and the tree sends more energy to higher branches, but the low branch still contributes to the development of strong taper in the stem until it is ultimately removed. As higher branches develop and take a more dominant position in the tree, the low limbs are often shaded out and die naturally, which is much less damaging to the tree.
Wrong Practice: Flush cuts
When a branch is removed from a tree, it is very important that it be done correctly. A common myth is that we should cut the branch as close to the stem as possible so that the tree can more quickly heal the wound. In fact, this practice is devastating to trees. When a new branch sprouts, its parent forms special tissue around its based called a branch collar. This tissue swells up around the new limb the way water in a stream swells around a large rock. Flush cuts remove this tissue, compromising the tree's ability to grow new wood over the outside of the wound. In fact, some flush cuts never completely close, exposing the interior wood to decay and disease organisms. Often, some tissue will eventually cover the wound, but not before cracks have formed in the wood. These cracks are hidden from view, and sometimes even the best arborists cannot see the defect until years later when the branch breaks.
The correct way to prune a branch is to cut it just beyond the branch collar. This will make an almost circular wound in most trees, which is a smaller area for the tree to cover. Fortunately for those of us who prune trees, it is also the shortest, easiest cut to make in most cases. The result will vary from a small bump at the base of the cut to a short, stubby protrusion, depending on the species, the age of the branch, and individual genetics of the tree. A trained eye quickly learns to distinguish the proper location and angle of a good pruning cut. An untrained eye frequently makes bad cuts that can lead to problems later. Though leaving too much of a stub is not a preferred practice, leaving too much is less damaging to the tree than not leaving enough. When in doubt, cut stubs a little long and wait to see how the tree reacts. You can always take more off later if necessary, but you can never put it back.
There are a lot of things that make up the landscape of your house and one of the most prominent are trees. There are a lot of different kinds of trees that can be used on your landscape and there are also a lot of things that you need consider when choosing the best tree. Today, I will be showing you some of the most important things that you need to do in order to find the best type of tree that you will be planting on your landscape. Reading this article will help you save a lot of money, since you no longer need to hire a tree service to have it done for you.
Before you choose the type of tree that you will be planting, you should first determine the maturity of the tree that you want. Trees that are being sold today are placed in a container, which makes it easy for you to plant in on your landscape. Some people are saying that it is better to choose younger trees, but if you don't want to go through the trouble of taking care of the tree, it would be better if you are going to pick something that is more mature.
The next thing that you need to do is to choose only the one that has small branches. This will allow you to easily trim the branches, which will make it more appropriate for your landscape. There are a lot of people who think that large trees are much better, which is definitely not true. As a matter of fact, some large trees would require more time to take care of, and they don't add as much value as smaller trees. If you are going to pick small trees, it will be easier for you to cut it down whenever you no longer want it on your property.
Large trees should not be in your list of options when choosing the best tree for your landscape. There are a lot of disadvantages that you can get from it, and maintaining large trees is not well-worth the value that it adds to your property. If you are still having problems when choosing the best tree, it would be better to contact a tree service to have it done for you. Although you will be spending money when getting a tree service, you will still be able to save time, which is more valuable for some people.
If you are having problems with the trees on your landscape or if you need help in choosing the best trees, the best thing that you can do is to contact a Nottingham Tree Service.
51, 1 Hanley St,
0115 824 9899
Nature is no less than a mother to the humanity. However, when rage strikes, it's difficult to predict the amount of damage done to the earth. Last Tuesday's thunderstorm left thousands of trees dead and lifeless on the ground. Heavy rain and strong winds brought havoc into the city. Besides demolishing the vegetation, it took many lives as well. The plants in my backyard were no exception, but luckily nobody was hurt or injured. Well, you could say it was mere good luck or mercy of God. Anyway, my family members were safe but I lost my dear trees in the garden. Yes, it was pretty heartbreaking for me. While the incident was very unfortunate, I don't know whether proper hardwood maintenance could save the lives of my dear plants in the garden.
Now that I've lost my valuable assets, there's no shame in admitting the truth - Yes, I was always negligent about the upkeep of my plants. In fact, as most of us, I started taking them for granted. While my loss is irrevocable and nothing is possible to bring them back to life, I would ask you all to not repeat the mistake of being too slow or careless. Else, you'll end up incurring losses that are way too priceless.
Whether you have just a few or countless trees surrounding your property, the fact remains that proper care can make a lot of difference. If you take proper care of the plants on a daily basis, you'll actually cut down the risks of damage or breakage when rainstorm hits your city. Most of the people love to handle the garden maintenance work on their own. In fact, I often see a lot of my friends plugging in their headphones and spending their weekends edging, pruning, mowing and weed whacking. No matter how proficient you're at regular gardening tasks, one thing that's almost impossible to tackle on your own is tree care. The reason that’s behind this is that most of the people lack the necessary tools and techniques to enhance the health and the beauty of their plants. Only an experienced tree surgeon has the right knowledge and ability to enhance the health and beauty of your trees.
Hardwood maintenance is an extremely complicated job, which needs the help of experts or thorough professionals. A tree surgeon has a detailed knowledge about arboriculture - maintenance and repairs of shade or decorative foliage. With more people taking up the job of tree surgery, choosing the right professional is quite tricky. Assess all your options on hand and select the one with good reputation in the market.
If you're looking for the best tree surgeon in Nottingham this is the right place to go.
51, 1 Hanley St,
0115 824 9899