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Some Tree Pruning Tips

May 15, 2008
There are almost as many schools of thought about pruning trees as there are people who prune! And I'm not talking about dried plums, either. To try and shed some light of this confusion, I'm offering my own recommendations and interpretations.

Trim back any over exuberant branches that are out of line with the rest of your tree or shrub, remove any dead, broken, or dying branches, and cut out any crossed branches that might rub together. Don't forget to cut back those weak and spindly shoots (suckers) that come up around the trunk.Before you start to prune anything, take a good look at it and make sure it really needs to be pruned! As you stand there and stare at your potential victim, notice its general shape, and its size in relationship to its location and other trees and shrubs nearby. If the overall impression is favorable, then all you really need to do is a little "clean up" pruning.

Young trees need to be pruned so that they develop into strong, healthy, and attractive adults. In general, choose one strong central branch to be the leader, and prune out all other competing secondary leaders. A tree with 2 rival leaders, just like a country, can split down the middle since the crotch of that tree is very weak.

Avoid cutting above a bud or branchlet that is pointing back in towards the central trunk, as this will result in an untidy mess of crossing branches in the interior of your tree. When pruning, consider which way you are going to want the new growth to go, and make your cut close to a bud or branchlet which is already headed in that direction.Always make your cuts at or just above a bud, a branch, or night at the trunk of the tree itself, so you don't leave a little stub sticking out. That bud or branchlet is going to become the dominant one on that branch.

So what should you do if you are in the unfortunate position of having a tree that is too big for the spot it's in? It's sort of like having a Saint Bernard that thinks it is a lap dog. I don't know what you would do about the dog but the best thing you can do with the tree is to have it removed, and to plant a more appropriate choice in its place.

To shape young pines, pinch back the growing tip by about half in the spring. Don't head them back, since on most evergreens, once a branch is cut, no new growth will form.As your tree grows, you can determine the form it will take. If you want your tree to develop into an open, airy tree, thin out branchlets that develop along the sides of the main branches. If you want a tight, compact tree, leave these branchlets alone, and head back the very tips of the main lateral branches.
About the Author
Maria is a freelance writer for more information about how to home decoration and how it can provide a simple way to improve interior decorating visit www.finesthomeweb.com
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