Pruning is a necessary tree maintenance procedure. When done properly, it can significantly improve the health of your tree by eliminating dead or weak branches. It also helps in protecting the branch structure and minimizes hazards such as tree failure, low hanging branches or falling limbs. For fruit trees, proper pruning is necessary to improve the size, quality and quantity of the crops.
Although pruning trees may seem to be an easy task for any do-it-yourselfer, it is actually not as easy as getting a chainsaw or your garden tools and cutting away any branch that you feel like cutting. Pruning trees without the proper know-how can actually do more harm than good. You could damage the tree and other properties. You could also hurt yourself and everyone else around you. So, if you don’t know how to properly prune a tree, it is best to hire a professional tree service company to avoid making costly mistakes. But if you insist on learning by experience, here are some of the common pruning practices that you should avoid.
1. Using dull tools. Aside from making the task physically challenging, using old and overused tools are often dull and will give you a rugged rather than a clean-cut. This will make the healing process longer than usual. If your trimming tools will benefit from sharpening, by all means do so before trying to prune even a single tree in your yard.
2. Ignoring safety measures- Experts suggest to never trim a tree from a ladder. Otherwise you are looking at an accident waiting to happen. If you can’t trim your tree with your feet on the ground, then consider hiring a tree care expert to do the work. Never try to climb a tree with your cutting tools on your hand, instead, ask someone to raise them to you. You should also make sure that you wear proper safety gears such as a hardhat and safety goggles.
3. Trimming trees on a bad weather. Tree service companies don’t work during a bad weather and so should you. Working on your trees during rainy or windy conditions could lead to serious injuries.
4. Not clearing the area. The most common cause of injury during a tree maintenance job is not clearing the area. Someone who has not vacated the vicinity may get hit by falling branches. This type of accident is usually called “struck bys” and it is the leading cause of serious injuries and fatalities when doing tree maintenance procedures. Make sure that your family and everyone else is at a safe distance from the tree that you are working on.
5. Over-pruning – Many do-it-yourselfers tend to get carried away when trimming a tree. Always remember that you should never cut away more than 25% of a tree’s leaf-bearing crown especially when dealing with older trees. This is because older trees heal longer than the younger ones.
6. Flush cutting – Flush cutting or cutting a branch flush against the main branch or trunk can cause several problems. Such tree problems include uneven bark, disease, pests and fungus growth.
7. Over lifting – This happens when all the lower branches of the tree are removed, making the upper part of the tree heavy and more at risk to branch failure.
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