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How to Prune Your Trees

snowy treeThe summer is over and all your beautiful trees are shedding their leaves. It is about now that your realise that those trees have grown dangerously large and they need a bit of pruning to keep them healthy and safe.

The best time to prune most trees is in the Autumn and Winter months when your trees are dormant. Pruning at this time will mean they are less likely to bleed sap. If you need to climb high or cut a large tree you might want to consider getting an expert in. Also be aware that some trees have preservation orders on them, so check before you chop! Even if all you are doing is pruning them, you still need to gain permission.

Pruning Techniques

  • Remove any shoots which are growing at odd angles and any which are growing at the base of the tree, these take away nutrients from the main tree.
  • In the tree’s first year, remove the lower one third of branches and shorten by half those in the middle third.
  • Once the trunk is developed you can prune the branches from the crown of the tree to develop an open network of branches. It will normally take around 5 years for a tree to fully develop its trunk.
  • Coppicing is used on willow and hazel trees and means cutting back to ground level or just above in the winter. This is a good way of keeping trees at an ornamental size and to prevent overgrowth.
  • Conifers should be trimmed in the winter, removing any dead and oddly shaped branches. If the conifer has developed into two stems, simply remove the smaller of the two. If there are brown patches, simply cut them out and train new branches to grow across the hole.

We may hate having to clear up the leaves, but there is nothing like dappled sunlight coming through trees in your garden. So if you want your trees looking their best in the summer, you need to get out the pruning shears in the winter.