Pruning – Tree & Shrub Practices

Written by: Jason Maylee

“For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.” This passage was written many years ago in the bestselling book ever written, the Bible. Can it be that this wisdom concerning the necessity of pruning still is applicable for today? Chew on that for a minute. No, not the pruned limb, but on the previous thought.

In your mind, you may question if you are physically hurting the tree or a bush. Depending on your practices you can either hurt or help the tree and shrub. Do you practice good or bad pruning skills? Take a look at a few of the good practices, as well a few bad practices and judge for yourself.

Good practices and the benefits of correct tree or shrub pruning.

Tree And Shrub PruningHaving too many branches or suckers pull strength from the limited energy and nutrients of a plant. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to keep a plant or tree pruned to a balanced, aesthetic product. The benefits of a properly pruned plant or tree far outweigh the bad.  Benefits to good pruning is added life to the plant, bigger fruit or buds, better form and beauty, and less dead wood. A homeowner or business owner that keeps their trees pruned shows the outside world that the small details of the establishment are not overlooked. It will set you apart from properties around you. Always make your pruning cut at a 35-45% angle never making the cut flush. This is the proper way to cut any branch.  Leaves directly correspond with our oxygen and also the processing of sunlight in a tree. Therefore, leave smaller branches coming off of the main branches so life can be preserved.

Bad practices of tree or shrub trimming.

Never take off your main branches or top the tree. The only exception to that rule is if you are pruning the bottom canopy of a tree to raise the height. Topping a tree creates weak branch unions (collars) at the top. Any wind or storm could create a life 008-figure-pruning-comparisonthreatening situation with a snapped off main limb created by the ill-advised practice of topping. Cutting main branches at any point can create a non-balanced tree if not done with weight distribution consideration. Never cut away more than 30% of a tree while pruning at any point. If this occurs, your beloved tree or plant will die or go into stress. Also, it is important to never strip or lion tail a limb. Also the more cuts that are made, the greater chance of airborne diseases finding the fresh cut. That is never a good thing.

Bottom line is this. Pruning is not a way to save money, as not doing it correctly will instead cost you more than you have saved. Don’t believe me? Just ask the person who has a crushed car or roof from not keeping their trees pruned. I am sure they wished that the tree crew would have been hired to prune the day before their roof collapsed.


Lasting Quotes:

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” ― William Blake

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.” ― Chad Sugg


We’re Your Tree & Shrub Care Experts
We can help you preserve your valuable tree and shrub assets. Give us a call at 314-770-2828 or use our simple contact form to discuss your tree and shrub care needs.