Cutting back the trees in your garden can be a satisfying and beneficial job, but you need to know what you’re doing. It’s a matter of knowing what to cut, how much to simply trim and when to take to the saw.
Benefits of Trimming There are a number of benefits to properly trimming the trees in your garden. Proper pruning improves the health of your trees by removing dead or dying branches. It also protects the branch structure and reduces hazards such as falling limbs or low-hanging branches. On fruit trees, it can improve the size and quantity of the crop. In a garden, a lone tree can develop a broad or weak structure and die prematurely.
How To Prune All cuts on live branches should be as close to the trunk or parent limb as possible. Also, the bark at the edge of all pruning cuts should remain firmly attached. Any branch that is too large to support with one hand should be cut in stages to avoid splitting or tearing of bark. Ropes should be used to lower large branches to the ground.
Timing Different trees should be pruned at different times of the year. For example, pruning summer blooming trees in early spring before they get their new growth, while fruit trees should be pruned in late winter for shape and to expose the centre of trees to light. Trees and shrubs that should be pruned now include:
• Witch Hazels • Forsythia - All types right after flowering. • Jasminum nudiflorum - the Yellow Winter flowering type. Kerria japonica - right after flowering, and cut some of the branches down to near ground level. • Pieris. Especially if there was frost damage to the new foliage. • Quince - As soon as flowering finished. • Salix caprea and others that are grown for their pussy willow catkins. • Fatsia japonica - is best pruned in late April - May once frosts are over. • Deciduous Winter Flowering Viburnums.
Safety There are some basic rules when trimming your own trees.
• Never trim trees from a ladder. Instead, secure yourself to the tree from at least two points. • Never climb with cutting tools in hand. • Always wear a hardhat and safety glasses. • Most of all, leave the difficult or hard-to-reach work to the professionals.
Four Classes of Pruning...
Fine Pruning: Small, premium cutting that improves tree’s aesthetics.
Standard Pruning: Slightly heavier cutting more devoted to enhancing the tree’s branch structure.
Hazard Pruning: Recommended when there are safety considerations. This usually involves the removal of branches two inches or greater in diameter.
Crown Reduction: The reduction of the tops and sides of a tree, when there is storm damage or when branches are interfering with lines.