Tree Trimming 101: Young Trees Vs. Mature Trees

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Trimming trees is an important step to making sure that you have healthy trees in your yard. Whether they are young or mature, taking care of your trees ensures that they can live a long, productive life. The fundamental basis for trimming is to help young trees grow correctly and for keeping mature trees maintained. Most people are unsure when and how they should prune their trees, so here are a few tips to get you started:

Young Trees

When a tree is young, pruning serves as a tool for making sure the tree grows correctly. Every single cut you make has the potential of helping or hurting the tree, so it is important to know what you are doing. There are a few basic principles any arborist follows while trimming a young tree:

  • Have a purpose for every cut
  • Small cuts cause less damage than large cuts to a tree
  • Correcting structure issues early leads to less drastic pruning later
  • Never damage the trunk, especially when the tree is really young
  • Always make cuts to a secondary branch or bud to reduce risk of stem decay, misdirected growth, or sprout production
  • Newly planted trees should not be trimmed for the first two or three years. The only exception to this rule is to remove dead or broken branches.

The main goal in trimming a young tree is to make sure it has a strong structure with well-spaced branches to prevent problems later in the tree's life. Some species need more time and attention than others.

Mature Trees

Pruning a mature tree has some similarities to a young tree in that you should never make a cut without a purpose. There are different reasons for pruning mature trees, but mostly it is to help remove dead branches, improve the form of the tree, and reduce risks.

These corrective and preventive measures also have some basic principles to follow:

  • Avoid pruning coming in or out of a stagnant period
  • Don't prune weak trees after a spring growth flush. This can stress the tree after it has just exerted a lot of energy in production
  • Thinning helps to increase the light and air to the tree's crown. It is also important to do when there are too many heavy limbs or the tree's natural shape is getting lost in too much growth.
  • Selective pruning of fruit trees can help to produce bigger fruit.

Using the Right Equipment

The basic tools for trimming trees are:

  • Pruning Shears: These are ideal for cutting back small twigs and stems
  • Lopping Shears: Longer handles provide better leverage and are more capable of cutting thicker branches
  • Saws: Whether you choose a hand saw or pole saw, these are best for the thickest branches.

If you are cutting up high, climbing with tools is dangerous. Try using a ladder for high branches that need to be removed. If you are going much higher than a ladder, it is advised that you call an arborist. They have the special tools required to getting the tops of trees and in dangerous situations, like around power lines. Always choose safety.

For more information, contact a company like All Season Tree Service to learn more.


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