Frequently we get asked, “how often should I have my trees pruned?” Trees are a product of their genetics and the environment they grow in. They need favourable conditions to thrive, survive and become long lived old trees. They also need to develop a strong well balanced structure to stand the test of time. We can help trees become as strong as possible through pruning. To help understand when you should prune, let’s break down some of the common reasons that homeowners need tree pruning services.
1. DEVELOP GOOD STRUCTURE
One of the primary reasons for pruning is to promote strong healthy structure, and it begins very early. In fact, by the time you purchase a tree from a nursery, it will have likely been pruned several times to encourage proper form. The most important advice we can give for your trees to develop and maintain strong structure is CONSISTENCY. Frequent pruning sessions mean smaller diameter cuts which are much less invasive to your trees. Have a qualified Arborist develop a pruning cycle for your trees.
2. MAINTAIN SAFETY
Safety is at the forefront of tree care. We prune to remove dead, weak, diseased, imbalanced or potentially problematic branches, this is known as maintenance pruning or cleaning. Maintenance pruning can be done any time of year as needed. It’s important to be mindful of the condition of your trees because you’re actually legally liable to keep the trees located on your property safe. Get into the habit of examining your trees thoroughly, and get in touch with your Arborist if you spot a problem.
3. FOR PROPER CLEARANCE
Trees can grow fast. We often prune trees to clear obstacles such as a roof or shed. Sometimes we remove lower lateral branches for overhead clearance or to create more space for sunshine, this is called crown elevation or canopy raising. Pruning for clearance can generally be done any time of the year and as needed.
Overly thick trees can act as sails in strong winds, create favourable conditions for fungus and insects and cast undesirable shade. Proper thinning can reduce these problems. Sometimes we thin trees simply for the purpose of aesthetics, and just like a good haircut, there is value in thinning for beauty. But be careful, over thinning can cause more damage than good. As a rule of thumb no more than 20% of overall canopy should be cut in a single pruning dosage, but this can vary depending on tree species, age, time of year and even weather. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of hiring an experienced qualified Arborist for your tree thinning.
Most trees, regardless of age, will benefit from yearly pruning, but the main take away here is consistency. Pruning causes permanent effects in trees so remember to always hire a qualified experienced Arborist. Most problems we see people experiencing with their trees are because they have never been pruned or they were pruned incorrectly.