That is the question! And although the task of pruning may seem simple enough to do on your own, you should ask yourself what you hope to achieve by pruning, as any objective comes with a set of caveats.
For instance, many homeowners with waterfront property on elevated terrain want to improve their view of the water by topping off the trees growing below—a practice strictly forbidden by TCIA because of the damage this inflicts to the trees.
Others try to thin the density of their tree by cutting away foliage growing near the center. This is known as “lions tailing,” and it is identified by TCIA as harmful to the tree’s balance and consequently a potential hazard. When a tree loses its internal foliage, the bulk of its limbs’ weight rests on the ends of the branches, causing them to droop and weaken. This makes any branch more susceptible to wind damage and even severance.
So how do you prune a tree without making it a liability?
Depending on the type of tree and your reason for pruning, there are some important things to consider.
Some trees are more vulnerable to pests, which means all pruning should take place before or after pest prime time. Red oaks, for example, release a scent when cut that attracts beetles carrying infections, which leads to the fatal condition of Oak Wilt. So you should avoid pruning these trees between late spring and early fall, when Colopterus Beetles are in full swing.
If you are pruning for maintenance purposes, it is wise to wait until mid to late summer, when the shrub growing cycle has subsided.
Trees pruned too drastically during the thick of shrub growth season can succumb to aggressive plants that will overcrowd and strangle them. While most benefits of pruning are more concerned with the owner’s purposes than the tree’s health, removing dead or diseased wood can help a tree maintain a healthy shape and prevent the spread of infection to other limbs.
If you are considering doing the job yourself, make sure you are not cutting above your shoulders. Countless accidents happen each year in which homeowners attempt to prune while climbing or using a ladder. Don’t do it. If you have to get off the ground, call a tree company that is TCIA accredited to ensure that you get the proper procedures and equipment that protect both your safety and that of your trees.
To get an estimate for your pruning project, submit a request for a quote or call 616-837-1100.
We look forward to serving you!