Knowing when to prune and why you should is crucial for tree and hedge health, growth and appearance. Different plants often require particular pruning times and methods for optimum benefit. Before doing any trimming, do some research on the particular plants you want to cut back to be sure you’re not doing more harm than good.
Pruning trees and shrubs helps to maintain safety for your family, home and neighbors. You should remove branches that have the potential of breaking off and falling, which can cause damage or injury. It is also a good idea to remove branches that are too close to your neighbors’ homes and low-hanging branches that prohibit pedestrian traffic and clearance for power lines.
If you have to remove a large branch from a tree, carefully assess your experience in removing large tree limbs. They can be extremely heavy and if not done properly, potentially cause serious injury or property damage. If you need professional assistance, call a local arborist.
Hedges and shrubbery can often block lines of sight for passing vehicles or when you’re trying to back out of your driveway. Keep them orderly and neat so that visibility is at a premium.
Pruning also alters or directs growth the way you want it. You can influence the direction and amount of growth by pruning. This is especially helpful in training young trees to grow and to develop strong branch structure, as well as shape them. With shrubs, you can prune closely planted plants to form a hedge. Unwanted growth, wayward branches and growth density can be altered by trimming. If foliage is growing too densely, it can affect other parts of the plant. Thin it out to keep the plant healthy. Remove any branches that are growing in toward the trunk or any that are rubbing against other branches. Thinning out a tree’s canopy is beneficial because it increases the amount of light that can reach the most leaves and it reduces wind resistance on the tree during high winds and storms. This can help decrease the chance of branches breaking and crashing down.
Keep in mind that dead or diseased growth can and should be removed at any time of the year. Cut it as soon as you see it.