Some people take the approach that there is no improving on mother nature. While this is an accurate sentiment when applied to a natural wonder like a sandstone arch or a snowflake, it does not make a good foundation to your approach to tree care. While it would be nice if you did not have to do anything to care for trees, incorrectly pruning your trees can be just as devastating as doing nothing at all. A successful approach to tree pruning hinges on two keys: when and where. 

When to Prune Trees

If you prune trees at the wrong time of year, you will leave open wounds that serve as the perfect entry point for illnesses and insects that prey on wood. The worst time of year to prune your trees is during the fall. The problem is that deciduous trees are slowing down the production of nutrients and the flow of sap so that they can prepare to go dormant through the winter, which leaves trees unable to properly heal the cuts you make. The second problem is that the fungi that help to decompose rotting leaves can get airborne and settle into the cuts and infect your tree. The best time of year to prune most trees is just after the coldest part of winter. Insects and illnesses are kept at bay by the cold of winter and the burst of growth that comes in the spring can help to heal the cuts. 

Where to Prune Your Tree

When cutting off major limbs, you should cut the limbs as close to the the trunk as possible. If you hack off limbs away from the tree, the limb stump can mar the profile of your tree. If the limb is too big to cut with pruning sheers, you should cut through the bark at the bottom of the branch before you start sawing the limb from the top. This technique will prevent the bark from ripping as the limb falls away from the tree. When cutting secondary limbs, you should cut them as close to the limb as possible for the same reason that you cut the major limbs close to the trunk. 

Proper pruning is key to maintaining healthy trees in your yard. Not only will improper pruning diminish the look of your trees, it will also leave limbs vulnerable to damage. Pruning is not as simple as haphazardly hacking off limbs. If you do not feel like you know enough about what you are doing, you can call in tree care professionals like Sylvester's Tree Service to do the job for you and ensure that your trees are as healthy as they can be. 

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