When done properly, pruning can drastically improve the health and appearance of a tree. It can also minimize the chances that tree growth will pose hazards to people and buildings.
However, pruning can do more harm than good when it is done improperly. When a pruning cut leaves a tree more susceptible to disease or decay, it comprises both the tree's life and its structural stability. The following are five mistakes that it's important to avoid when pruning your trees:
Cutting off a large portion of the lower branches on the tree
This pruning mistake is known as "over-lifting" the tree. When too many lower branches are removed, the tree is likely to suffer from insufficient nutrient intake. This is because the lower branches contribute to nutrient absorption. Over-lifting also detracts from the appearance of the tree by warping its overall shape. Trees that have been over-lifted are also left more susceptible to structural failure.
Removing many branches on the interior of the tree's canopy
When many branches are removed from the inside of a tree's canopy, it's known as "lion-tailing" the tree. This pruning mistake will lead to a sparse-looking tree with over-elongated branches. These elongated branches will typically become increasingly unstable as they grow. They are likely to become prone to collapsing due to excessive weight over time.
Cutting off the top portion of the tree
When a portion of the top is cut off of a tree, the overall shape of the tree is permanently disrupted. Known as "topping" a tree, cutting off the tree's top will leave the tree more susceptible to a variety of problems like infestation by pests, weakness in the limbs, and collapse of the limbs.
While it can be tempting to simply "top" a tree that is growing too tall, it's best to find another solution to excessive growth to prevent both health problems and aesthetic problems.
Making jagged or irregular cuts
Any pruning cut should be clean. A jagged or irregular cut makes it more difficult for the tree to heal from the wound of the cut. The extended length of healing time that a jagged cut requires leaves the tree at greater risk of infection and infestation.
Leaving a stub when cutting off a branch
Any pruning cut should be made at the very base of a twig or branch rather than up above a remaining stub. Leaving a stub is unsightly. It also makes it more likely that an insect infestation or a disease will develop at the site of the cut.
For more information, contact professionals like Southern Tree Care, Inc.