Before you begin, take a good look at the size of the tree. Pruning a large tree should only be done by an experienced arborist. They are trained and know all the safety measures that must be followed. The actual weight of the branches can be deceiving. You may be able to handle their weight while on the ground, but it is very different when you are cutting a branch up high and it suddenly snaps and falls. The branch can snap back and cause serious injuries or even death. Professional arborists know all the precautions to take and where the branch will land.
Please note that York Nursery does NOT prune large trees. Hire a professional arborist.
Ensure you know what you are doing before you get up on a ladder. Research first, so that you know how to make the proper cuts and which measures to take to achieve the desired result.
For small trees and grafted ornamental standards, go ahead with the 1st step.
1st step – Check for dead or damaged branches. By pruning these out, you will remove any safety hazards. Prune several inches past the damaged or dead wood into the living wood. Pruning deciduous trees is best done when trees are dormant and you can see the framework better. Make your pruning cut on a 45 degree angle slightly above an outward facing bud. By pruning to an outward facing bud, you will ensure that the new branch will grow outward, not toward the interior. This will help to reduce further pruning in the future.
2nd step – Look for any criss-crossing branches in the interior part of the tree. These branches will rub together as they get older and damage the bark. Wounds on the bark may leave entry points for insects to start attacking. Removing these branches will help provide better air circulation, thus reducing the chance of diseases. It will also allow more sunlight to reach any fruit or plantings below.
3rd step – You may want to shorten the ends of the branches to encourage new growth and multi-branching for a fuller looking tree. Check each variety for proper pruning time. For trees that flower – if your timing is wrong, you will forgo the flowers for that year or the next.