Posted on: Thu, Feb 16, 2012 by Nature's Touch

Nature’s Touch’s Pruning Tips

Winter is pruning time for shade and fruit trees, and for most summer-blooming trees and shrubs.  Structural flaws are more visible when branches are bare.  Plus, dormant pruning is healthy–pests and diseases aren’t around to cause trouble.

Hand pruners cut branches up to 3/4 inch in diameter.  Long-handled loppers are good for limbs up to 2 1/2 inches across.  For bigger branches, use a pruning saw.

Remove all branches that are crossing or rubbing on other branches and any dead or damaged limbs.  If it hits you in the head when you mow–remove it.

Don’t leave stubs.  Cut branches just above the spot where a limb meets the trunk or another branch.  Cuts should be clean–tears indicate dull blades.  Sharpen your tools.

After trees leaf out in the spring, take one more look and remove any dead branches you missed before.

There are tree wound products you can buy that are supposed to speed the healing of pruning cuts, but research shows they can seal in moisture and promote decay.  In most cases, it is best to let cuts heal naturally.  Branches will form protective callouses.

If you are not comfortable trimming your own trees and shrubs, give Nature’s Touch Landscaping a call and we will trim and haul away all the debris.  Call 763-566-8457 for a free estimate.


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6 Responses to “Nature’s Touch’s Pruning Tips”

  1. Nancy says:

    This is really great information! I know a lot of people can do this themselves, but for me, it’s best left to the professional!

  2. Nathan says:

    I liked the pointers mentioned above, while I consider myself a natural green thumb it really is hit & miss with me when it comes to gardening.

    This may seem like a silly question but for a novice such as myself, what method would you recommend to sharpen your tools? Is one method better than another? is there something that I should use in particular when doint this?

  3. That is a good question Nathan. There are a lot of people who never think about sharpening their tools. It is amazing what a difference it makes! If you have a grinder at home you can just use that to give your favorite shovel or hoe a quick tune-up. You can also get a tool sharpener at any of the Big-Box-stores. It is hand-held with 2 blades in a “V” that you run your tool edges through. If you would rather not do it yourself, you can take your tools (along with your lawnmower blade) into your local small engine repair shop and they will do it for you at a reasonable price.

  4. You are not the only one who feels that way Nancy! We have a lot of clients who would rather sit in the new outdoor space we just built for them and watch us do all the trimming and pruning for them!

  5. Justin says:

    What should I do if a buck rubbed the trunk of my newly planted tree. The tree is about 12′ tall (recently planted) but half of the trunk is taken out.

  6. Justin, it is amazing how much buck-rub damage trees can take and still survive. Damage that completely encircles the tree’s circumference is more deadly than damage up and down the tree. This is because the tree’s vascular system is just under the bark. Young trees have very thin bark that offers no protection from such damage.

    When a tree is damaged around its entire circumference, it is referred to as girdled. Trees that are girdled often die because they can no longer transport water and nutrients. If the damage is most severe up and down on the trunk, the tree can survive.

    Trees are capable of healing a surprising amount of damage on their own. Don’t use a wound dressing, it can actually interfere with the tree’s ability to heal itself.

    Use a sharp knife to cut off pieces of bark around the edge of the wound and clean up the edges the best you can because they will heal easier than the ragged damage left by the buck’s antlers.

    Bucks rub their antlers on young, flexible trees to remove the velvet that covers them. It is a popular belief that the drying velvet is itchy and they are trying to get it off but antlers have no nerve endings. Bucks rub their antlers on trees to attract Does and to mark their territory.

    It is possible that this buck will come back to rub on your tree again, so it is important to take steps to protect it. You should surround the tree with a sturdy fence or barrier that can keep a determined deer away from the tree trunk. A 6-foot-tall barrier of welded wire mesh, supported by 8-foot-tall rebar pounded into the ground at regular intervals around the circumference is a good way to keep bucks from rubbing on young trees. Another option is corrugated plastic drainpipe that has been slit along its length and placed around the trunk. You can also purchase ornamental metal grates designed for this purpose. They are more expensive but much more attractive. While deer repellents can help prevent deer browsing, they are not very effective in controlling buck rubs.

    I hope this helps Justin! Good Luck and let us know how it turns out!

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Unless noted, photos are used with permission courtesy of Belgard Hardscapes.

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