Trimming trees at the right time
You may have heard the old saying about tree trimming that goes something like this: "Trim trees anytime your saw is sharp." This may be true when it comes to removing broken and dead branches, but in many cases, the correct timing is very important.
Trimming flowering trees: "Timing, timing, timing!"
Most flowering trees set their blossoms the year before they bloom. Therefore, they won't bloom if these flower buds are trimmed off the tree. The best rule is to always trim flowering trees within 3 weeks of when they finish blooming. That should prevent you from inadvertently removing buds containing next year's flower show.
Photos above and below:
Severely cutting back major branches causes weak growth in the form of multiple branches that grow straight up, ruining the natural structure of the tree. These fast growing shoots are known as "water sprouts." Similar shoots, called "suckers," grow from the roots of some trees, especially crabapples.
AVOID Topping: Our number one choice of "trees not to plant" is Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum). Their rapid growth may be desirable to some for the first 20 years, but after that most homeowners are forced to make a decision; trim-it or remove-it. Unfortunately, the decision is usually to trim-it using a method known as "topping."
Topping creates a "hat rack" appearance and forever ruins the branching structure of the tree. A profusion of weak growth known as "water sprouts" is created at each cut. Where there was once a well-formed branch, there are soon 5 or 10 sprouts that grow straight up, faster than ever. Homeowners are then forced into the vicious cycle of topping the tree again, every few years. BOBSCAPING SOLUTION: Remove overgrown silver maple trees and plant a more desirable tree species.
One of the biggest pruning mistakes is cutting off branches in the wrong place. Amateurs tend to leave too much of a stub when removing branches. Once the stub dies off, it creates an entry point for disease pathogens and destructive insects.
Unlike human beings, trees don't regenerate tissue. While our skin replaces itself, trees grow new tissue around wounds and compartmentalizes them with callus tissue. Once a a tree compartmentalizes an old wound, it has a much better chance of survival.
Efforts should also be made not to wound tree trunks with lawnmowers, tractors and other machines. Trunk wounds create opportunities for destructive fungi.
A natural defense system is built into trees, in the swollen area at the base of branches, known as the "collar" -- right where the trunk intersects the branch. Flush cuts are important to make, provided you don't remove the collar. Proper pruning cuts should be made just beyond the collar, without leaving a stub, but still leaving the swollen area.
Steps for sawing-off a tree branch:
1) Use a safety line through a strong crotch in the top of the tree, and
2) Use the strap on your tree climbing saddle to tie-in.