Spring is in the air, and if you're like most people with trees and shrubs in your yard, you're getting ready to give them a good pruning. A solid pruning job can set a tree up for a year of good growth and beauty. But what does a good pruning job consist of? Here are some key ways to make your springtime pruning even better.
Do it early.
The moment it feels like spring is coming, it's time to prune. Don't put it off for a better weekend or a nicer weekend. It's better to prune your trees a little too early than a little too late. By pruning early, you avoid removing any buds that the tree has put energy into forming. Pruning early also gives the tree a little more time to heal the cut branches before the spring showers come, which helps reduce the risk of fungal infections.
Leave a nub behind.
When you prune away a branch, do not cut it completely flush with the tree trunk. Instead, leave a little nub. An inch or two will do; there's no need to measure. This nub you're leaving is called the branch collar, and it's rich with vascular tissue. If you cut through it, the tree will lose more sap. Leave it behind, and your tree will get to keep its sap, which it uses to transport water and nutrients to the branches and leaves.
Clean your shears.
Whenever you cut into the tree, remember that you are cutting into living tissue. Just as a surgeon needs to use clean tools, so does anyone who is pruning a tree. Clean your shears before using them on the first tree. You can use alcohol pads to just wipe them down, or you can rinse them with bleach dissolved in water. Also, clean your shears between trees. This helps thwart the spread of tree diseases—especially the fungal ones that like to find their way into fresh wounds.
Remove dead branches first.
Before you remove any living branches from the tree, remove any that are dead or dying. This way, you can more accurately judge which healthy branches should be removed and which should remain without accidentally removing more than needed.
If you follow the tips above, you'll be giving your trees the gift of an awesome springtime pruning. They'll thank you later with lots of pretty leaves and flowers. For help or more information on pruning your trees and shrubs, contact a tree pruning service today.