Try These Tree Pruning Tips

Winter is the best time to prune trees provided the temperatures are not below freezing point. If temperatures are too low, when you cut branches etc. they will shatter as the cold makes the wood brittle. In general, however, winter is a good time for pruning since you can clearly see which plants need to be cut and which of them can be allowed to stay. Another reason is that during this time, plants are not very active so it is easier to work on them.

To begin pruning, start with ornamental trees like Weeping Cherries and Flowering Crabapples. These plants tend to grow in different directions so you need to prune them in order to get rid of branches that compete with one another for space. Think of how you would like the plant to look and then prune accordingly.

If the plant has a thick canopy of branches, look under the bigger branches. You may come across small branches that do not get any sunlight due to the overhanging branches. These small branches are essentially redundant and can be eliminated.

If you see two branches criss-crossing, get rid of one of them. If you find a branch growing towards the main trunk of the plant, cut it off since it will in most cases not get enough sunlight. Once you have cleaned up the branches on the inside, you can start pruning the outside to get the plant into the desired shape.

Create a mental picture of how you would like the plant to look and draw imaginary lines of that shape around the plant. Now cut anything that lies outside these imaginary lines. You need to also prune the tips of those branches that are not yet touching the imaginary lines. This will force the plant to grow in that direction and take up the desired shape.

You should know that a branch has two kinds of buds growing on it – terminal and lateral. The end of each branch has a terminal bud while lateral buds grow along the sides of the branch. Terminal buds make the branches grow in an outward direction and if they are left untrimmed, they make the plant grow tall and thin. When you trim a terminal bud, multiple buds start growing just below which makes the plant look fuller. This is why the more you prune your plants, the better they look.