Pruning Basics for Trees

Posted by gardensoul on February - 18 - 2014
How NOT to prune a tree

How NOT to prune a tree

February is a great time to prune many deciduous trees.  With leaves gone, the branch structure of trees is much easier to see.  You can safely remove diseased branches, such as fire blight on apple trees.

  • Remember the three D’s; remove Dead, Damaged and Diseased branches
  • Dead branches can and should be removed in any season
  • Diseased branches are best removed in the winter when some disease is dormant (American Elm and Apple trees especially)
  • Never shear trees like the photo as it invites disease and insects through the flat cut
  • Removing a branch connected to the main trunk will result in a partially hollow tree
  • Removing a branch connected to the main trunk when the tree is young results in a small hollow affect
  • Prune for tree strength and form; if the angle between the branch and the trunk is narrow, remove the branch to prevent breakage from heavy snow load
  • Fruit trees require unique trimming methods
  • Boulder County Extension’s Carol O’Meara has great videos on peach tree and apple tree pruning

Watch this video from Tagawa Gardens for tips on pruning shade trees.