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Pruning - Bad & Good

Examples of BAD PRUNING.

Many tree pruners are gutters and lifters. Some homeowners are too – especially men. It’s genetic, manly stuff to cut up and hack up stuff. I know – I’ve been there. Let’s talk about the good, the bad and the ugly pruning techniques.

To trim a tree properly, stand back and look at the overall form of the plant. Do this before you make a single cut. The overall shape and character that you see before you start is what you should still see when the pruning is finished.

Remember that every cut hurts the tree. You’ve heard that thinning trees is good for them, but it’s not. Thinning may be good for the grass and other plantings under the tree, but it is not good for the tree. Heavy thinning is called gutting and is severely damaging. Cutting off lower limbs, lifting, is in the same category. If limbs are in the way – hanging too low over the driveway or hitting you between the eyes or scraping your head when you mow the lawn, cut them off – just don’t be fooled that it is good for the tree. It’s not. It only benefits you. No pruning paint either. Nature doesn’t use it so why should we?

Photos by Howard Garrett

      Too many flush cuts together.

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Grossly improper pruning showing flush oval cuts that removed the branch collars.      



Examples of Good Pruning


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Left shot is a proper pruning cut leaving the branch collar fully intact. No pruning paint was or should be used. Right photo shows an improper flush cut healing poorly.


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