How to prune a tree

While pruning trees is an activity that’s usually associated with winter, there will be occasions when you need to do it at other times of the year.

But if you’ve never pruned a tree before, knowing what to do so your tree remains healthy and you stay within the law is vitally important.

Before you reach for your chainsaw and other tools, check with your local council – especially if you’re not 100% sure – to see whether or not your tree is protected under a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). There are heavy fines for breaching a TPO, even if the tree is on your property, so it’s always worth checking first.

Probably the most common type of tree pruning you’ll want to do in your garden is crown lifting. This is where you remove the lower branches of a tree to improve views, allow light to penetrate the ground and/or remove dead branches.

However, it’s important that you don’t remove too many branches. Any more than approximately 25% and you could cause fatal damage to the tree.

Branch collars are found wherever a branch stems off the main trunk. It’s crucial you do not remove these swollen areas of compressed bark tissue/wood at the base of each branch as they contain vital hormones which keep the tree protected against disease.

Also, please ensure that you remain safe at all times. A long arm chainsaw will make the job much easier, but obviously you need to be confident using one.

While you can probably tackle small trees yourself, anything on the big side should be handled by a professional.

Not only will your tree be pruned correctly, it will also be done safely. That means no wayward branches landing where they shouldn’t and no unwanted accidents. You’ll also be left with a tree that looks good and isn’t lopsided.

A professional arborist or tree surgeon will usually dispose of the branches as they go too using a wood chipper.

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