When a big storm blows through a community, some trees are more prepared to handle high winds than others. A balanced canopy helps a tree withstand high winds but how does a tree attain that? Understanding why and how to prune your trees is crucial for their health and stability. Learn more about the importance of pruning and knowing when to do-it-yourself and when to hire a professional.
Pruning Young Trees
Adding a new tree to your landscape is a great way to increase the value of your property. Plus, as it matures, it can block your home from winter winds and the harsh summer sun. The key to ensuring that your trees grow into healthy, stable trees is proper pruning. The care you take in maintaining your trees when they are young is reflected as they mature; just as any other living thing you raise.
Pruning your trees should begin at a young age to promote a strong branch structure. The most stable trees are those with one dominant trunk. Having more than one trunk of dominance increases the chance of a split during a storm with high winds. Once you’ve determined which branch of the young tree will be “leader,” or main trunk, shorten or remove all branches at least half its diameter of the leader. These larger branches will compete for resources, putting the leader at risk. This pruning should be done annually until the leader fully develops. Taking these steps will prepare your young tree to withstand high wind storms as they mature.
Pruning Mature Trees
Pruning your mature trees is essential in maintaining their strength and balance. It can reduce breakage in branches that are weakened due to disease or lack of nutrients. Trimming these branches in advance will save your landscape from potential disaster during a high wind storm.
General Pruning Guidelines
The pruning needs of your landscape are specific to each individual tree but there are some general guidelines to follow.
- You should never remove more than 30 percent of the canopy. By doing so, you risk weakening the structure of the tree.
- Start from the outside, and work your way toward the trunk, to equalize the weight of the canopy.
Following these simple guidelines will balance the weight of your tree’s canopy and will better prepare your landscape for high wind storms.
DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Pruning is a chore that may seem easy enough to do yourself but proceed with caution; it can be extremely dangerous. We recommend hiring a certified arborist, such as Ostvig Tree Care, for pruning needs that you can’t meet without a ladder or those around electrical wires. Otherwise, you could risk falling or electrocution, two common hazards in pruning.
Want more tips on how to prepare for severe weather? Find out what you can do here.