Trimming and pruning your trees and plants is important for several reasons.
Most notably is to preserve the health of the plant by removing dead parts. But there are other important reasons for doing it.
As mentioned, the health of the tree is the main reason people will prune or trim some branches and leaves. Dead, damaged or diseased branches can attract insects and decaying organisms, such as fungi.
A dense canopy can block sunlight and airflow. Thinning it out can help the healthy growth of the tree and decrease the the chance of the the tree becoming diseased.
Another important thing to do is remove crossing branches to prevent them from damaging one another. Water sprouts and suckers can contribute to weakness in the the tree and restrict nutrients from getting to it. Eliminating these will contribute greatly to the health of the tree.
We all want a nice looking garden. Trimming and pruning your trees and plants allows you to alter the shape and appearance of them. This tends to be the case when trimming hedges especially. To maintain the health of your hedge, shear the new growth regularly during the beginning of the growing season. Make sure the top is narrower than the base so the lower branches get sun and air.
Before making drastic changes, ensure that it will not damage the tree or hedge. Over-trimming can cause the plant to die.
A large tree left to grow untouched can present health and safety hazards in the form of falling branches, low growing branches or weak structural integrity. Removing dead or dying branches helps to eliminate this risk. Removing a co-dominant leader is also a good idea, as it prevents them from splitting and falling in high winds/storms.
Restricting a tree’s growth is also sometimes a good idea. It may be growing too large for the environment it is in and thus poses a potential safety risk. Pruning/trimming can help to limit the growth and keep it at a safer and more sustainable size.
Best Time to Trim/Prune
Naturally, if the tree has dead, damaged or diseased branches they should be removed immediately. The best time to prune is generally late winter or even early spring. Ideally you want to do it right before the tree begins to open its buds. If you do want to prune after the leaves have opened make sure you give them enough time to fully develop and then recover the energy spent from the leafing/flowering process. Try to avoid pruning/trimming when it’s hot and dry or in extreme cold conditions.
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