Well pruned trees require less maintenance and have a lower the risk of structural failure later in life.
It is much easier to correct problems while a tree is still young. However, pruning at the time of planting should be limited to correcting more serious problems such as removing broken branches and establishing a central leader. More general structural pruning should be performed once the tree is well established, usually 2-3 years after planting. Even then, limit the amount of pruning to no more than 25% of the canopy per year. Most often, less is needed.
The Arborist Certification Study Guide gives the following recommendations for training young trees:
- Remove broken, dead, dying, or damaged branches
- Select and establish a dominant leader. There should be only one leader, usually the strongest vertical stem. Competing stems should be cut back or removed.
- Select and establish the lowest permanent branch. The height of this branch should be determined by the location and intended function of the tree.
- Select and establish scaffold branches, the permanent and structural branches of your tree. Choose bashed on good attachment, appropriate size, and spacing in relation to other branches.
- Select temporary branches below the lowest permanent branch. These branches should be retained temporarily because they help provide energy back to the trunk and provide shade to young trunk tissues. Smaller temporary branches can be left intact because they help form a good trunk taper, which provides stability for the tree. Larger branches should be pruned.
The Trees Are Good site from the International Society of Arboriculture is a good resource for more information. Feel free to email us with any questions, too.
Mature trees can, and sometimes should be pruned. However, the process is more complicated and often requires ropes, rigging, and chainsaws. For this reason, we recommend hiring a certified arborist to perform the work.
Thanks again for taking the time to learn more about caring for trees,Cam Gould Gould and Son Tree Service