How To Prune Tree Branches? Detailed Guide

You need to prune tree branches to allow the tree to grow happily and effectively. When the branches grow too large, they might break apart due to their weight, wind, and storm. Also, dead and diseased branches can cause pest attacks and further diseases.

That’s why you should prune the branch appropriately to eliminate all these inconveniences. But for that, it’s essential how to prune tree branches appropriately. It is vital since trimming the branch inaccurately can do more harm than helping the tree.

how to prune tree branches

For pruning the tree branch, you should determine the right trim time, find the branches you need to prune and get sharp and clean pruning shears and tools. So, let’s see the ways of pruning tree branches appropriately. If you are looking for professional tree trimming service visit tree services in riverside.

How to Prune Tree Branches: Step-by-Step Guideline

Pruning is essential, but the appropriate proper pruning technique is paramount. You can’t just pick your pruning tools and start cutting the branches as you wish. Instead, it needs to be done with a specific method.

Step 1: Find the Right Time to Prune

Timing is crucial for pruning tree branches. The best pruning time is based on the type of tree and its growth pattern.

Nonetheless, late winter to early springis an ideal time for most trees. It is right before new growth emerges when the tree feels relaxed. So, the tree won’t be stressed when you trim the branches during this time.

However, some trees may benefit from summer pruning to direct growth. So, be careful about the pruning time. Also, remember that for dead branches, you should remove them immediately, no matter what time it is.

Step 2: Determine Which Branches to Prune

Before you start pruning, carefully inspect your tree. This way, you can identify branches that need attention. It is paramount because you can’t trim the limbs randomly as you wish.

Instead, you should look for dead, diseased, or damaged branches and those that cross or rub against each other. On top of it, look for tree limbs that can grow and touch your roof and exterior wall since they can damage the property.

  • You may check branches that lack leaves or have a dried and withered appearance. Also, you should trim it if it exhibits no signs of new growth.
  • Did you notice dark spots, cankers, or powdery substances on a branch? If so, it may be diseased, so you should remove it to prevent further spread of the disease.
  • Lastly, you may look for branches with significant breaks, splits, or tears in the bark. When storms damage tree limbs, trim them fast.

Step 3: Get Proper Tree Pruning Materials

Having the right tools is essential for effective pruning. Also, you must ensure that the pruning shear and blade are sharp and clean. If the pruning tool isn’t sharp, it will fail to make a clean cut. So, it will thrash the tree limbs instead of cutting it. The thrashing will further damage the limb and cause fungal and pest attacks.

  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers and ropes for higher branches
  • Pruning saw
  • Safety gear like gloves and eye protection
  • Disinfectant to prevent the spread of diseases between cuts.

Step 4: Trim the Dead Branches First

You should start by removing dead branches first. Dead and diseased branches detract from the tree’s appearance and can be potential safety hazards. As you remove the dead branch faster and use disinfectant, it will not allow the disease to spread.

Also, trimming the dead tree branch first will make the job lot easier. You can prune the other limbs with less attention.

Step 5: Start the Pruning Process

Now it’s time to examine the main steps to prune the tree branch. You can start with an undercut and follow it with an angled cut. Also, hold the branch safely with the rope to allow it to drop safely without damaging your properties.

Make a proper pruning cut:

You should begin with the branch collar. It is a slight swelling at the connecting point of the branch to the trunk.

  • Position your pruning tool just outside the branch collar.
  • Avoid cutting too close to the trunk or leaving a stub. Or it can impede the tree’s natural healing process.

A smooth, clean cut will promote faster healing. So, always ensure to cut as cleanly as possible.

Prune back to a lateral branch:

Next, carefully identify a healthy lateral branch. It is a smaller branch that grows horizontally from the main branch.

  • Choose a lateral branch at least one-third the diameter of the branch you’re pruning.
  • Cut the main branch slightly above the lateral branch.
  • You should leave a slight angle to discourage water accumulation on the surface.

The angle of the cut:

The angle of your pruning cut is important in preventing water accumulation and decay. A diagonal cut allows water to run off the cut surface. So, it will reduce the chances of rot.

  • Aim for a 45-degree angle cut at the branch.
  • Also, ensure that the lowest point of the angle is on the side of the branch. It should be opposite to the main trunk.

As you perform the angle cut, it stops the water accumulation. So, water may decay the opening when you make the cut and cause a fungal attack.

The angle of the cut:

A multiple-cut technique is essential for larger branches to prevent tearing and damage to the tree’s bark.

  • Begin with an undercut on the bottom side of the branch. It should be about 6-12 inches away from the branch collar.
  • The undercut prevents the branch’s weight from causing a tear as you proceed to make the final cut.
  • You can make the final cut just outside the branch collar. It will prevent damage to the trunk and bark.

Following this technique for removing the larger branches ensures a smoother and faster healing of the tree limb.

Step 7: Observe the Tree's Response

When you have trimmed the limbs, closely observe the tree’s response over the following weeks. New growth and wound closure are positive signs as it indicates proper healing. If you notice signs of stress or disease, take appropriate action to address the issue.

Also, ensure you clean the pruning tools before storing them, or rust can decay them faster.

Step 7: Observe the Tree's Response

Pruning tree branches is an art that requires knowledge, care, and attention to detail. The key is to find the right branch that you can trim. You should cut the dead and diseased branches properly and remove limbs that have grown too large and are damaged due to storms.

You will always need to cut the branches as cleanly as possible. Also, you should disinfect the pruning tools to avoid spreading any diseases of the tree later.