Fall is in full effect with its shorter days, cooler temperatures, and colorful leaves. With these leaves falling at a rapid rate, it’s no secret that it’s time to rake, blow, or mulch them. While removing leaves is an obvious chore for Fall, this season you should also consider taking care of the trees that these leaves fell from. Fall is the perfect time to prune your trees to remove stems or branches that are dead or damaged.
Why prune trees?
Pruning promotes healthy trees, and by removing dead or damaged branches, you’re preventing decay organisms from invading the tree. Pruning can stimulate growth in sparse areas of a tree, and can also restrict growth if too much growth is unappealing to you.
Pruning can increase air and sunlight while providing more food and water for the tree. Pruning to eliminate crossing branches is a great way to prevent damage as a result of the branches rubbing against each other.
When to prune?
Fall is the perfect time to remove bad limbs, but late winter and early spring are also acceptable times to prune, just before the tree begins to open its buds. You should remove dead, damaged, and diseased branches as soon as possible, which means pruning can be done anytime, just avoid pruning during dry, hot periods and extreme cold.
What tools to use?
Hand pruners – Hand pruners cut like scissors. One blade slides past another blade resulting in a neat and clean cut. Hand pruners are able to cut wood ½ to ¾ inch diameter.
Loppers – Loppers, like hand pruners, cut like scissors and are designed with larger blades and longer handles. These lightweight tools are able to cut wood ¾ to 1 ½ inch diameter.
Pole saws – Pole saws enable you to reach tall branches. They allow for extended reach with a long handle and can cut wood up to 3-inch diameter.
How to prune?
Before removing any limbs or branches, map out what portions need to be pruned.
The act of pruning wounds trees, but when done properly, pruning helps trees. When done wrong, pruning harms them.Trees never heal their wounds. When branches are cut off, they are gone forever. While trees do not heal, they do seal their wounds. When pruned properly, a callus grows, starting at the edge and growing in until it covers the cut.
Inside the tree, a chemical boundary is formed around the wounded area that compartmentalizes the wound, eliminating the chance of decay forming from the wound. Flush cuts and leaving a stub are examples of improper pruning and will cause wounds that will not callus or limit decay. The tree will begin to rot in these areas.
When pruning, avoid damaging the branch collar and branch bark ridge. The branch collar is a swelling that forms around the base of the branch, and the branch bark ridge is slightly raised, dark bark that forms where the branch and trunk tissue meet.
These are the areas that contain the chemicals needed for callus growth and the compartmentalization that protects the wound.
When pruning large branches, three or four cuts will be necessary to avoid tearing the branch collar and bark. Make the first cut on the underside of the branch about 18 inches from the trunk. Make the second cut an inch further out on the branch.
The third cut can be made by cutting down through the branch, detaching it. If there is a possibility of tearing the bark on the branch underside, make an undercut and then saw through the branch. Finally, be sure not to take away too much of the tree at any one time.
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Weingartz, family owned and operated, began in 1945 as a farm supply store for local Michigan families. In the 1970s, we began to focus exclusively on outdoor power equipment. Over time, we morphed into the “power equipment superstore” that now defines all of our locations. The staff and experts at Weingartz work diligently to provide the best service possible and give honest and helpful advice to each and every customer.
Weingartz also sells parts for all outdoor power equipment at https://weingartz.com/parts-lookup.
6585 Dixie Hwy.
Clarkston, MI 48346
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