Trees are vital pieces of any landscape. Their long-term value is irreplaceable due to the length of time and effort to establish a full grown tree. But trees are often forgotten and overlooked because of the low maintenance. February is the month of Trees. Since we are in the early weeks of February, tree pruning is the essential element at this time. As trees are dormant during winter months and the horizon of next month’s budding and root growth nears, tree maintenance through structural pruning can expand the life and health of any tree. Reducing risk, providing clearance, reducing wind resistance, influencing flower/fruit production, while improving the tree’s aesthetics are some of the basic objectives for most homeowners. However, objectives can’t be properly meet without the proper methods. ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) has established best management practices for tree pruning through numerous findings and results from research. ISA offers a comprehensive, but easy to read, book on how to properly prune all species of trees titled “Best Management Practices – Tree Pruning, Second Edition” at http://www.isa-arbor.com/store/product.aspx?ProductID=58
One of the main takebacks for pruning any tree is the simple three-cut method approach for removing any limb/branch.
Cut 1 is the undercut, half way thru the branch with cut 2 being slight down and above cut 1 with the same depth. Cut 3 is the final removal stage. This prevents bark tears and distributes the weight of the branch evening for the final cut. Two important comments to note is branch collar and using a chainsaw. First: an essential element to effective tree healing from pruning is never to cut behind or at the branch collar.because all the healing (compartmentalizing) mechanisms are located in the region. What is the branch collar… it is where two branches our trunks have joined together to create a swell.
The picture below shows two cuts. Cut 1 is the correct cut beyond the branch collar to aid the tree in compartmentalizing the wound, while cut 2 is incorrect and will allow pest and decay to occur. Secondly: when using a chainsaw the 2nd cut should be either close to or right above the 1st cut but not all the way through. This closer cut aids in safety to prevent a barber chair break.
Now, if the idea of tree pruning and structural management is beyond your scope of safety and knowledge, New Braunfels Tree Care experts are just a call away. Liberty Lawn & Landscaping Inc. offers tree pruning, tree management, and tree care from our best management practices through ISA education and 11 years of reliable experience. Call us today, 830-629-5296 for more information and to schedule a free estimate.
The USDA has subsequentially developed a handbook guide on “How to Prune Trees” that any homeowner or professional can reference: https://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_prune/htprune-rev-2012-screen.pdf