Tree Pruning in the Low Country: Start them Young!

Story by Rawson Services Editor / March 9, 2016

South Carolina homeowners know that pruning their trees isn’t just a matter of making them look neat and tidy. Pruning is also important to the growth and overall health of the tree. This is particularly true of the young tree.

In order to develop a tree that has a sturdy structure and an attractive appearance, pruning is essential. If you take the time to properly prune your tree when it is young, you may find that it will require less corrective pruning as it gets older.

Pruning Basics: The Proper Technique

There are a couple of basic pruning rules to become familiar with. First, you must use the proper cutting technique. Incorrect or clumsy pruning can do long-term damage to the tree that may grow worse as it ages. Second, it is always better to make a small, less damaging cut than a large one. The more tree ages and grows, the bigger its branches become and the longer a cut requires to heal. This is why it is so important to establish a pruning regimen when the tree is young.

Many Low Country homeowners prefer the convenience, or the experienced hand, of a tree care professional like Rawson Services to perform this important task. However, with the right instruction, tools and experience, homeowners can perform some basic pruning on their own.

Pruning Basics: The Proper Location

What determines a “proper” cut is its location. Look at the branch or stem you wish to prune. You will notice at the point where it joins the trunk or parent branch, there is a “collar” of thicker material. This branch collar contains sensitive tissue from the parent branch or trunk. Be sure to cut outside or beyond this area, to avoid damaging the collar and causing a wound that may be slow to heal.

Tree Pruning is Tree Training

The primary purpose of pruning is to maintain the health of the tree. A nicely pruned tree is more attractive, of course. But more importantly, pruning helps establish a pattern of proper growth. That is, a sturdy trunk with a healthy, properly spaced branch structure.

Tree Pruning: How Young is Too Young?

A final note: it’s important to make a distinction between a young tree, and a newly planted tree. Typically, for the first year after planting, you should only prune the tree to correct a growth problem or damage. You should wait to “train” your young tree until at least its second year. If you have any concerns about pruning your young tree, please call the tree professionals at Rawson Services.

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