Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Guidelines for the Correct Pruning of Trees

As plants are dormant in winter, this is the perfect time to assess a landscape and decide whether some changes should be made.

This may include some judicious pruning of landscape trees to improve their structural strength, health, shape and value. In addition to beautifying the environment, trees can raise the value of a property by up to 20%, so proper care of these natural assets is definitely worthwhile.

Reasons for Pruning Trees

Although not all trees require pruning, some of the reasons for pruning trees include:
  • Thinning the crown to let in more light, enabling the tree, as well as the plants below it to grow better
  • Removing weak or overlapping branches
  • Removing decaying, dead or dying branches
  • Removing low growing branches and raising the canopy to a height that is suitable for people or vehicles to pass underneath safely  
  • Removing broken or damaged branches
  • Reducing the size of trees that have grown too large for the area in which they are planted
  • Cutting back branches that have grown into buildings or are obstructing utility lines
  • To improve the general structure of the tree thereby reducing the need for future pruning
Tips for Pruning Trees
The pruning of a tree should only be done for a specific purpose and should benefit the health of the tree while close attention should be paid to maintaining the natural structure and shape of the tree. To achieve this, the following guidelines are helpful:
  1. Where there is a long branch competing with the leader, the less vigorous of the two should be pruned back
  2. Remove branches that have an angle that is too narrow between the branch and the trunk as a wider angle is stronger
  3. Remove any branches that rub against or overlap one another, maintaining the branch that best conforms to the natural shape of the tree
  4. Ensure that branches are well spaced along the trunk of the tree by thinning out any branches that are causing overcrowding. On a mature tree the lateral branches should be between 450mm and 600mm apart
  5. Remove water sprouts and any damaged or dead wood
  6. Removing temporary lower branches to provide safe clearance on young trees should be undertaken gradually over a number of years
  7. As much as 35% of the foliage of a vigorous, healthy tree can be removed
  8. Flowering trees are best pruned as soon after flowering as possible, enabling the tree to develop flower buds for the following season.
Typical Pruning Cuts

TheThinning Cut

The thinning cut removes a branch at the point of origin on the trunk without leaving a stub and is used to remove old, weak, overcrowded or damaged branches from the tree.

The Reduction Cut

Reduction cuts reduce the size of the crown and are placed in such a way as to encourage even growth distribution in subsequent seasons, while maintaining or enhancing the natural shape of the tree.

The Heading Cut

A heading cut is used to prune a branch back to a bud or small branch that will not grow back to the size of the pruned branch. This cut should only be used when pollarding trees.

The Stub Cut

The stub cut is made indiscriminately at any point on a branch. This method is generally used for topping of trees which almost always destroys a tree’s health and structure.

For more information or advice regarding the maintenance of trees, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. Alternatively you are welcome to email us with your enquiry at info@treeco.co.za

No comments:

Post a Comment