5 Pruning Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Trees

All trees tend to be healthier and more attractive when regularly pruned, but trimming the wrong way can actually do more harm than good. Avoid the following mistakes so you can keep your trees healthy and beautiful.

1. Pruning Too Soon

Newly planted young trees typically need some time to establish before major pruning begins. Most saplings have been pruned at the nursery to a good early form. Pruning heavily right away can weaken the tree before it has a chance to grow in a healthy root system in its new home. Allow the trees to establish strong roots the first year and save pruning for the second or third year after planting.

2. Trimming Out of Season

Trees shouldn't be pruned at just any time of year. Cutting into the wood when the sap is running in late spring can lead to a sticky mess and make a tree more prone to fungal issues. On the other hand, pruning in fall can force new tender growth that will suffer damage when frost comes. Most trees, with a few exceptions, are best pruned in late winter to early spring before they break dormancy and begin the new growing season.

3. Cutting Out Too Much

Cutting a branch back too far can result in a bare stub and a hole in the tree's crown. Never prune a branch back beyond the last bud closest to the trunk or branch base, otherwise, there will just be a bare branch stub sticking out that won't put on new leaves. The best place to prune it is within a few inches of a leaf or leaf bud, which ensures new growth will camouflage the pruning cut.

4. Using the Wrong Tools

Not all pruning tools are suitable for every job. Using the wrong tool or a tool in poor condition can damage a tree. As a rule of thumb, use bypass shears for branches smaller in diameter than your thumb, and a pruning saw for larger branches. Further, make sure you know how to make proper pruning cuts. Otherwise, it is better to hire professionals for any tree trimming.

5. Proceeding Too Quickly

It can be tempting to cut back an overgrown tree drastically, but the repercussions can be quite severe. Cutting back too much can stress a tree and in some cases kill it. If a tree is badly overgrown, it is better to slowly prune it back over the course of two or three years.

Contact a tree trimming service for more help.