At General Tree Service, we have a saying, “It’s always a good time to prune” though the winter months are an especially good time for pruning trees. Why? Winter is the dormant season and the branches are bare thus making it easier for arborists to determine its structural pruning needs.
Role of pruning in tree’s health
Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure. While forest trees grow quite well with little or no pruning, trees in landscape settings benefit from it. Pruning improves the structure and overall health of the tree in the following ways.
- Thin heavy branches
- Remove water sprouts
- Remove dead or diseased wood to maintain safety
- Opens the tree’s structure to increase light and air circulation in the canopy and direct it to other desired areas
- Creates a hostile environment for insect and disease thereby reducing potential problems
Please note: Improper pruning can cause damage, which will continue to affect the tree for its remaining life.
Pruning reduces potential for storm damage
If you’ve ever had a tree or large branch fall on your vehicle or home, you know the amount of damage it can cause. You also know that cleaning up and fixing the destruction can be costly though you count yourself lucky if no one was hurt.
It’s a situation like this which should convince you to get your trees pruned so you can decrease the chance of it happening to you. Here’s why pruning can lower the risk of costly damage and repairs.
- Thinner canopy allows wind to blow through the tree instead of toppling it.
- Fewer branches means less accumulation of heavy snow and ice whose weight can break branches.
Importance of professional pruning
Trees that are properly pruned are much more likely to be healthier, stronger and live longer. When a certified arborist removes limbs, they do so at locations that utilize the tree’s natural healing process.
When a tree can heal its wound correctly, there’s less chance for disease and insects to enter.
Tree topping is harmful
While proper pruning techniques make a tree healthy, improper practices like topping or heading back trees are harmful. Research and experience have shown that this practice is harmful in the following ways.
- Topping removes so much of the canopy that it greatly reduces the tree’s food making ability.
- Any new growth is mostly in the form of suckers (water sprouts), which makes for a dense shady canopy and is the perfect breeding ground for disease and insects.
- Sucker limbs are structurally weak and break easily during wind/rain storms.
- Wounds left by topping are an open door to rot and decay.
While topping may initially cost less than professional pruning, it has hidden costs. It decreases property value while increasing the chance the tree will have future health problems that will cost you money.
Winter time tree removal
If you have a large tree in your yard that needs removing, winter is the best time to have it taken down. Why? Perennial and annuals are not blooming and therefore, less prone to damage. In addition, the leaves will be off the tree, which makes for less cleanup after removal (unless the tree is an evergreen).
Contact the tree experts at General Tree Service for more information about pruning trees and shrubs in your Portland Oregon or SW Washington yard.