Alabama Tree Masters Service

Tree Masters


Licensed arborist offers professional tree trimming, tree pruning,
tree removal, and stump grinding services

What are three general rules in pruning trees

A dead or broken branch can fall at any time and pose a significant threat to people, cars or structures. Pruning trees helps reduce the risk of such injuries by removing unsafe limbs. It also keeps a tree’s shape, appearance, form and growth potential optimally maintained. It can prevent overgrowth, which may cause damage or block visibility in the future. Finally, it promotes air flow through a canopy and removes water accumulation, which can lead to fungal infections.

Pruning also reduces the chances of storm damage. Proper Pruning Trees Sanford allows a tree to better withstand harsh weather conditions, including heavy rains, high winds and ice. The difference between a tree that survives and one that falls during a severe storm has more to do with the health of the individual branches than their location, age or size.

In general, pruning should be done to remove dead or damaged branches, thin a tree by reducing its density and lighten its canopy, open the crown to allow sunlight penetration and to reduce stress on selected limbs caused by gravity, wind, ice or snow. The best results are obtained when a combination of both thinning cuts and heading cuts which shorten a branch are used.

It is also important to prune at the proper time of year. Check with a gardening resource or your local cooperative extension office for recommendations on what and when to prune in your geographic area.

Avoid removing more than a third of a tree’s canopy in any season. Removing too much at once can weaken the remaining branches and increase the likelihood of storm damage.

When a branch is removed, always make the first cut close to but not through what is called the “branch collar.” This is the swollen area at the base of the trunk where each branch grows out of. The second cut should be made on the side of this collar, and the third cut should be just outside of this collar. The last cut should be done in a way that does not leave a stub, which could lead to decay or insect infestation.

It is also important to maintain a single dominant leader stem, which is the tallest and straightest stem in a tree. In young trees, this can be achieved by locating the straightest and strongest lateral branch and letting it grow vertically, removing competing branches that are growing upright. In older trees, this can be accomplished by removing a codominant stem or bending secondary branches down to slow their rate of growth, as opposed to removing them completely. In general, lateral branches should be kept no larger than about half the diameter of the main stem. This will prevent them from competing for the dominant leader in the future and causing structural weakness.

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