When you plant trees in your yard, you are committing yourself to care for those trees. It would be nice if your trees were maintenance free, but trees are susceptible to diseases, they can grow improperly, and they can be injured. In order to keep your trees healthy, you will need to prune them periodically, but if you don't know what you are doing, pruning can do as much harm as good.
When to Prune
Unless your trees have actual structural damage, you should avoid pruning your trees in the fall or late summer. The problem is that fungi and diseases run rampant during this time of the year and trees react more slowly. For most trees, the proper time to prune is during the winter. The cold of winter will protect wounds until the trees start growing in the spring, and the rapid growth of spring will help close the wounds before disease can set in.
On the other hand, if you have fruit trees, you will want to prune in early spring. Winter pruning can result in a burst of growth while pruning in early spring will channel the tree's energies into the remaining limbs which will lead to fewer but more healthy fruits.
How to Prune
Tree growth is predicated on the need to find light. Trees with a large crown will send out horizontal limbs to reach out to the side to find more and more light. The problem is that this horizontal growth can put strain on the tree and eventually cause the limbs to crack and collapse under their own weight. If you see limbs growing off to the side, you can cut off the tip of the limb to relieve the weight. You might also want to thin out the foliage on the limb to reduce weight and protect your tree.
Trees can grow in all kinds of dangerous ways. Limbs can rub against each other and cause damage. Trees can grow out over walkways or swimming pools and create a hazard of falling limbs. Or trees can simply grow in ways that are not pleasing to the eye. There are many reasons to prune a tree, but before you go out and start hacking at your tree, you need to remember that improper pruning can damage your tree for life. However, if you know what you are doing, pruning can help to keep your tree healthy and beautiful.
For more information, contact a tree care service like Jerry's Tree Service.