5 Essential Steps for Tree Pruning

1. The 5 Centimetre Rule

One rule that should always be followed is that you can prune only if branches are 5 centimetres long, or less than this. If the length is somewhere between 5 to 10 centimetres, you should pause and rethink pruning. 

The reason behind this is that when branches that are this length or shorter are quicker to “heal.” The area left behind won’t take too long to form a protective callus. And when this happens, the tree trunk will continue to grow without weak points due to pruning. 

2. V-Shaped Versus U-Shaped

Take note of the shape that branches form. If they’re in a U-shape, stop right there. What you need to look for are ones that make up a V. These v-shaped branches tend to be weaker than the latter. 

And that’s the whole purpose of pruning in the first place— to retain strong branches and cut off the weaker ones to stabilize the entire plant as it continues to develop. 

3. Young Branches

Thirdly, prune young branches. Though older branches can be unsightly, you’re going to have to let them be. Pruning worn parts won’t be a wise move because they’ll cure at a very sluggish rate. 

On the other hand, young branches are easily mended after a short period. Even better, they won’t leave behind unpleasant-appearing scars. 

4. No Forked Trunks And New Shoots

Forked trunks are different from v-shaped branches. You can immediately spot the difference by observing where their starting point is. For the first, it’s usually very close to the ground. Still, the extra offshoot trunk has to be pruned because it will merely sap nutrients away from the primary trunk, and ultimately from the entire tree. 

The same is true with new shoots. There are instances where “suckers” will rise from the soil and weaken the main trunk. Similar to getting rid of forked trunks say goodbye to new shoots as well. Cut them as close to the ground as possible. 

And in both events, cut the extras in a diagonal angle so that droplets from rain can quickly slide off the attachment point. 

5. Be Careful With Stubs

If stubs remain because of failure to nip the branch off cleanly, these will potentially cause trouble. Aside from healing at a low speed, it can become a point of entry for insects. The moment insects burrow their way inside the trunk and branches; these portions will eventually rot and stunt the growth of a tree. 

What you can do is to incise very carefully to the trunk but not too close that the base color is removed. That base color should be left alone so that tissues will be able to seal that gap quickly. 

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