Keeping a tree’s shape and size under control from the beginning through proper pruning is much better to its health and appearance. Proper pruning techniques and practices maintain the natural shape of the tree, while the necessary removal of diseased and/or dead branches, and any unwanted growth is performed.
Also, using the right pruning tools is essential to get best results. A homeowner should at least own a set of pruning shears, looping shears with a long handle, a pruning saw, and a hedge shears. With these pruning tools, a homeowner could handle virtually any pruning job he may encounter, except in the case of tall trees and huge branches. It is also very important to keep tools sharp, so cuts are smoother and wounds are healed quicker.
With regards to safety, it is best to let a certified tree care firm do the task of pruning high trees or large limbs, for they have the necessary equipment, knowledge, and skills to accomplish the job safely and properly.
Pruning branches near electrical cables is another hazardous case that may need expert help from a professional arborist or a utility worker.
Again, for optimum results, pruning requires knowledge about the growth habit of a certain tree. For instance, trees flowering and bearing fruits in the spring, are pruned until after they flower in the spring. If pruning is performed prior to this period, flower buds will be removed, which is obviously not a good thing. Another common mistake many homeowners make is pruning hedges such as yew or privet, leaving the hedge’s bottom narrower compared to the top. It is better to keep the top branches pruned back narrower than the bottom one. This allows more sunlight penetration, and prevents the bottom part of the hedge from becoming too shaded, reducing the foliage’s density.
But when is the best time to prune a tree? Generally, the best time to prune taking into account the tree’s health is in early spring (just before new growth emerges for the year) or in late winter. But there are some exceptions (such as when a tree bears flowers and fruits, and sap “bleeding” on maple trees) that may require trimming at another time of the year. On the other hand, the least recommended period to prune a tree is at the beginning of summer, immediately after new growth has developed.