Pruning may be the most important tree care task that you handle. It keeps our property safe. It lets us enjoy nature and the views around us. The list could go on and on. Here, we discuss tree pruning tips for deciduous – or “leafy” – trees.
Minnesota weather can get nasty. High winds, heavy rain and icy temperatures can wreak havoc on large, leafy trees and have devastating results. Inspect your trees regularly for any branches that cause a threat to your property or others. These branches, which are visibly weak or dead, should be removed right away. Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare your trees for a seasonal storm.
Don’t let it get in the way.
A leafy tree doesn’t need to be completely removed just because it’s blocking a view. Skirting (removing limbs from the bottom half of the tree), thinning (removing branches throughout to provide a filtered view) and windowing (selectively removing branches so you can look “through” a tree) are all options for having the best of both worlds. Learn more about pruning for a view here.
Wait, or don’t wait.
We typically recommend waiting until a tree is dormant before pruning. So, if your tree doesn’t have weak or dead branches, it’s fine to wait until late fall or early winter to prune your deciduous trees. However, if your tree is putting your property or others in danger, remove the limb(s) right away. If you’ve recently added deciduous trees to your landscape, start pruning them now. This will help your young trees develop a strong structure.
Don’t go overboard.
It’s very easy to go overboard when pruning a leafy tree. But pruning more than 30 percent of a tree’s limbs puts its structure at risk. If you’re not sure which branches to remove, research specifics on your tree type and avoid cutting the leader. It’s the main branch that comes up from the trunk. If you’re still not sure, consider contacting a tree service company, like Ostvig Tree Care. We have certified arborists on staff who will safely remove branches that are hazardous or a nuisance.