Pruning Trees by Byron Chitwood
There are many reasons to trim or prune landscape trees. Some of the reasons are as follows:
- Promotion of plant health. Some trees do not naturally prune themselves. Limbs might die and need to be physically removed. Also some damage might be as a result of storms. High winds or icing can cause limbs to break. Unfortunately, the breaks do not occur at places on the branch that are the most desirable.
- Safety. Some growth of certain trees can cause hazardous conditions such as those caused by aging and cracking in narrow “Vees” of adjoining branches. This article does not give legal advice on the liabilities of a property owner regarding trees; however, it is the legal responsibility of the property owner to insure that hazards do not occur. If some of your landscape trees encroach on a utility right-of-way, trimming might be required. Rather than attempting to trim those trees, call the Utility Company. They have a vested interest in protecting their power lines and will more than likely trim the trees and grind the trimmings and either haul them away or give them to the homeowner.
- Trees may need to be pruned to maintain the intended purpose of the original landscape plan. Most flowers and turf grasses require a certain percentage of sunlight during the day. Branches can be removed to improve the sunlight hours on those plants.
- Increase visibility. Your landscape might have trees or shrubs that have grown up to block the view from a particular window. Lower branches can be removed to improve visibility.
If you plan do it yourself and do your own pruning, there are some simple rules to follows: first, safety is the most important thing to consider. The two most dangerous items in your toolbox are chain saws and ladders. More people are injured by falling from a ladder. I have also seen some rickety ladders being used.
Chainsaws can be very dangerous. Even woodcutters with years of experience have been severely injured using one of these hand held mechanical sharks. They can eat you up, belt buckle, bones and all. It might be better for you to use a good sharp pruning saw rather than standing on your tiptoes on top a rickety step ladder while trying to reach way over your head and sawing off that last branch.
There is a proper way and place to cut off a branch. A branch growing from a larger limb will have a branch collar at its base. Cut the offending limb at the base of the branch above the collar which will leave a stub. Then, cut the stub off avoiding cutting the collar. Make the cuts so that they angle down and away from the main branch.
Personally, I might cut a branch here and there when they die or need to be removed but if some big time pruning needs to be done, I call in the professionals. There are some really good ones in the community and they can usually do a very good job and safely remove those branches that need pruning. Also, most of them leave the yard in immaculate condition.
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