Although most homeowners think of pruning as a fix for overhanging branches that pose a danger to your property, regular pruning is important to keep the trees in your yard healthy. Dead branches and open wounds make your tree more susceptible to pests and disease — both can easily spread to the trunk of the tree, which will eventually cause it to die entirely. If your trees exhibit any of the following, call a tree service professional to prune the offending branches.
1. Dead or Partially Broken Branches
It's important to remove any dead or partially broken branches from the tree. If you notice that a branch doesn't have leaves growing on it or the leaves on that branch have all died, the branch needs to be removed. Branches can die even if they don't have any apparent injuries or rot — sometimes the problem is internal to the branch, and the only indication is that all the leaves on the branch have died. Dead branches are more likely to fall off, potentially causing injury to people or property. Eventually, dead branches will begin to rot — if they're not removed, the rot can spread throughout your entire tree.
2. Asymmetrical Branch Growth
One of the reasons why tree service companies recommend that young trees receive regular pruning is that pruning can be used to direct the growth of the tree. Trees don't regrow limbs once they're removed — the branch collar where the limb was cut grows a very thick layer of bark to seal off the cut limb from the rest of the tree. This helps the trunk of the tree avoid diseases and pests that may try to enter in from the cut limb. Since trees don't regrow their limbs, careful pruning can be used to shape the direction that the tree grows in.
While shaping the direction of growth works best with younger trees, you also need to prune older trees to make them balanced. If all of the limbs on a tree are growing dominantly on one side, there's a risk that the limbs will become too heavy for the trunk to support. This can cause limbs to snap suddenly or even cause the tree to begin leaning due to the weight of the limbs.
3. Two Branches Rubbing Against One Another
Older trees will often begin growing branches that rub against one another when the wind blows. These are called crossing branches, and one of them must be removed. The bark on the branches will eventually rub off, creating an open wound on the branch. Worse, since the branches are continually rubbing against one another, there's no chance that the tree will heal this wound on its own. A wound on a tree branch is an open invitation to pests, fungus, and disease. Removing one of the offending branches will allow the tree to heal.
Pruning a tree incorrectly is worse than not pruning it at all — cutting branches flush to the trunk or making ragged cuts will create a wound that the tree has difficulty sealing. Not only does this place stress on the tree as it tries to heal itself, but it creates an entry point for pests and disease. To ensure that your trees are healthy, call a tree service professional to prune your trees.
For more information, contact a company like S.A. Total Tree Service.