Posted on Tuesday 9/28
We associate fall with cooler temperatures, beautiful colors painting our landscapes and those of Mother Nature. In some areas of our wonderful country it is breathtaking beauty and soaking in its beauty gives a warm fuzzy and happy feeling as winter approaches in our gardens.
Then reality flings its arrows into our being and we slowly begin the process of performing the necessary tasks that will yield us that wonderful fall palette of colors. Its' time to dig out the sharpening stone, 3 in1 oil can, some rags, pair of safety goggles and start to prepare pruning cutters, shears for a full season of work.
Fall Pruning is Crucial for a Health Spring Landscape Design
Normally, pruning is not required on newly planted trees. However, as the tree grows, one should cut off the lower branches to provide clearance above ground, to remove dead or damaged limbs or the infamous suckers that sprout from the trunk. Often larger trees require pruning to permit more light to enter through the canopy.
Pruners will easily remove smaller branches; however, larger branches should be removed with a pruning saw. Some school of thought states that all cuts should be vertical; however, if this is not feasible, a cut at an approximate 45 degree angle will do very nicely. Both cuts achieve the same desire results; lessen water retention to minimize rot.
Avoiding Pruning Pitfalls in Fall Gardening
It must be noted that if the cut is greater than the thickness of an individuals thumb, a sealant is recommended. Major pruning should only be done in late winter or very early spring. It is at that time when the tree is more likely to 'bleed' as sap is rising through the plant which is actually healthy and will help prevent invasion by many disease organisms. Heavy pruning in late summer or fall may reduce the tree's stamina against winter harshness.
Remember removal of heavy branches is very hazardous. If in doubt, contact the folks at our great online nursery for advice and/or recommendation for professional help.
Before I leave the subject of tree pruning, under no circumstances should trees be topped. This ruins the natural shape of tree and drastically increases its susceptibility to diseases and results in very narrow crotch angles, the angle between the trunk and the side branch. Narrow crotch angles are weak and will easily break under the right conditions. It a large tree requires major reduction in height or size, contact a professional.
Next time you drive through the countryside and see a line of trees bordering a farmer's field, asked yourself why? Why are the trees there? These trees are windbreakers which slow the wind and provide shelter and food for wildlife. Windbreaks can be beneficial in reducing blowing and drifting snow along highways. An added bonus they help prevent bust particles from adding to smog over urban areas. They have a purpose.