Tree pruning is essential to maintaining both the health and appearance of all woody landscape plants. Often considered a cosmetic procedure, the truth is the pruning removes dead and dying branches from trees, encouraging fresh and sturdier growth, as well as preventing potential health as safety hazards, such as dead limbs falling from the main body of the tree onto cars, property, or people.
With young trees pruning is essential for them to develop structural integrity. Wild trees grow straight, naturally losing their lower branches as they compete with other trees in the forest for light. Trees that are planted in a garden, or other landscape environment grow more branches, simply because they are free to do so. However, this results in a tree that cannot support its own weight. As the years go by the lower branches will often fail, and the joints between branches are prone to breaking even in light wind conditions. The trick is to prune these trees early on whilst they are still growing, in order to provide a strong framework for its continued growth into the future.
With mature trees, whilst the technique might be similar, the reason for pruning is quite different. Here the goal is to remove branches that are dying, or that are already dead, in order to promote fresh growth from the main stem beneath, ensuring a longer-lived and more lustrous tree.
Thinning is normally applied to trees that have a dense and closely-packed accumulation of branches. In this process, we are actually removing live branches, in order to reduce the density of the tree, in order to lower wind resistance and reduce the potential for storm damage during windy conditions.
Raising involves trimming the length of established branches in order to shape a tree, or to prevent the tree from interfering with buildings or other objects. It can sometimes be necessary to raise a tree in order to correct structural weaknesses in the tree, in effect balancing out the weight of the branches to help the central trunk to develop properly. Raising can also be used to give the turf grass around the tree more light.
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