November twenty fifth, 2023 Posted In: Gardening understand how

You might not intend to prune your timber your self.

However even should you make use of a tree surgeon, there are key details it is advisable to find out about tree upkeep.

This may assist you discover a good tree surgeon and get the most effective outcomes.

As a result of pruning timber isn’t only a query of reducing them all the way down to the dimensions you need.

You possibly can safely cut back the peak of some timber, nevertheless it’s very tough to cut back their width.  And but it’s precisely the other with different timber.

And should you prune an excessive amount of off many timber, they’ll usually reply by re-doubling their development. You possibly can find yourself with far more tree fairly than much less. This could occur in a short time. And the form isn’t more likely to look pretty much as good.

Like most gardeners, I’ve a mixture of timber in my backyard. Many had been planted by my predecessors. There are two evergreens, each of which have grown fairly too giant.

I even have quite a few deciduous timber of various ages, shapes and magnificence. So I engaged tree surgeons About Timber to test all my timber and cut back the dimensions of the bigger ones.

And I requested Wayne Elwell of About Timber to elucidate what it is advisable to know earlier than you prune your timber.

(Disclosure: I engaged About Timber on the regular business charge and solely invited Wayne for interview after that had been agreed. I feel it’s price explaining this, as typically there are reductions or free companies concerned when firms are featured on blogs and so on. However not on this case.)

When must you prune your timber?

Autumn and winter are an excellent time to prune most timber, as a result of they’re not rising. Some timber, such because the prunus (cherry) household must be pruned in summer time.

You possibly can search for the perfect time to prune a specific sort of tree on-line.

However most gardeners agree that there’s an ‘ideally suited’ time to do work. After which there’s if you’ve received time.

Autumn and winter are good times to prune trees.

Autumn and winter are good occasions to prune timber.

How do you cut back the peak of a tall tree?

Wayne defined that this relies on the tree and the way it each grows.  Some timber, comparable to birches, don’t like being pruned closely in any respect.  ‘Birches don’t get better nicely should you prune into the guts wooden,’ says Wayne. ‘So any pruning must be respectful.’

To scale back the peak of a birch, you’d have to do some mild pruning throughout the crown.

Merely reducing alongside the highest of a tree to cut back its peak isn’t all the time profitable. Many timber will sprout vigorous new development across the cuts. You possibly can find yourself with a a lot denser tree which might forged deeper shade. And also you usually smash its form.

‘A shopper is perhaps happy to see that we’ve pruned a tree again in order that it appears to be like actually small,’ says Wayne. ‘however long run, you’re going to advertise extra development, a thicker cover, extra leaves and bigger leaves.’

Nevertheless, you’ll be able to lower throughout the highest of some timber to cut back the peak. About Timber diminished the peak of my Lawson cypress and in addition my liquidambar by merely eradicating the highest few metres of development.

Silver birches need careful pruning - don't cut too much off

Birch timber want cautious pruning – don’t lower an excessive amount of off. About Timber shortened some branches and thinned out the cover of the Himalayan birch on the left. They thinned the cover of the youthful Himalayan birch on the suitable. This may enable extra mild by each timber.

Prune your trees gently - birch trees don't like heavy pruning

One other view of the Himalayan birch, Prunus ‘Snow Goose’ and Liquidambar. They’ve all been thinned with a mild crown discount to keep away from stimulating an excessive amount of re-growth or spoiling their form.

How do you prune a conifer?

When you can cut back the peak of a conifer, it’s very tough to cut back the width. That is notably true of a conifer that has grown too giant.

Most conifers gained’t develop again should you lower past the residing foliage.

So you’ll be able to trim the perimeters of a conifer again yearly if you wish to maintain it neat. That is how conifer hedges are normally handled.

However should you don’t trim it, the branches will develop to their full size. And you then’ll be very restricted on how far again you’ll be able to lower.

For those who lower an excessive amount of off, you could possibly find yourself with solely naked brown wooden and no foliage. That gained’t re-grow.

So if you wish to maintain the dimensions of a conifer underneath management, prune it again usually.

‘Lifting the crown’

For those who’re attempting to cut back the affect of a big, mature evergreen, comparable to a conifer, you’ll be able to lower off the decrease branches. This is called ‘lifting the crown’ or ‘lifting the skirt’.

Once we first moved in, over twenty years in the past, a good friend instructed we take away the decrease branches from our conifer. This created far more mild across the base of the tree.

Wayne’s crew took extra branches off and actually lifted the crown. This has made much more distinction and can imply I can develop extra across the tree.

How to create more light by lifting the crown of your trees

The right way to create extra mild by lifting the crown of your timber

Different evergreen timber – are you able to topiarise evergreen magnolia?

We’ve an overgrown Magnolia grandiflora. It’s about 25 years previous and we now have by no means pruned it.

A good friend instructed that I topiarise it. In the US this tree is commonly topiarised and it appears to be like great.

Nevertheless, Wayne advised me that topiarising must be began younger. It will take a really very long time to get a tree to re-grow right into a form.

However should you begin trimming and shaping when the tree is just a few years previous, then you’ll be able to topiarise evergreen magnolia. It’s vital to trim yearly, nonetheless, to maintain the form.

How do you prune a really younger tree?

I planted a younger silver birch within the far nook of my backyard about two years in the past.

Wayne advises me to do ‘formative pruning’. That is appropriate for younger timber of their first few years.

‘Have a look at a really younger tree and see how the shape goes to translate to a mature tree.’

This can be a good time to take off branches you don’t need or branches which can be crossing. Making a good condition within the first few years can have advantages all through the remainder of the tree’s life.

‘When a tree’s actually younger, you’ll be able to take away branches you don’t need.  And also you’re solely making small wounds,’ he says. These heal higher and don’t go away marks.

‘Formative pruning is appropriate for any very younger tree.’

What about pruning a mature tree?

The most important – and doubtless the oldest – tree in my backyard is a big Robinia ‘Frisia’ (False acacia).  It’s round 40-50 years previous.

The primary the explanation why folks wish to prune a mature tree are to create a lighter cover, to ‘carry the crown’ or to ensure it’s secure.

I requested Wayne to test that it was secure. He determined to trim any useless wooden out of it, however in any other case to cut back the cover very gently by thinning it discreetly.

That is one other tree the place you’ll be able to’t simply chop the highest branches off and anticipate it to look good.

He additionally noticed an ‘included union.’ That is the place the treee has two essential stems (leaders) rising upwards and so they have fused. ‘This could create a weak point within the tree,’ he says. ‘However you’ll be able to take the strain off an included union by eradicating just some branches.’

The right way to prune a really upright or ‘vase-shaped’ tree

You possibly can’t simply lower the highest off a ‘vase-shaped’ tree like my Prunus ‘Snow Goose’. It will stimulate the additional shoots and development and spoil the form of the tree.

Nevertheless Wayne identified that we are able to skinny out the branches, in order that the tree is narrower and extra ethereal. This entails taking out entire branches, fairly than reducing branches shorter.

It retains the form of the tree intact.

How do you prune birch timber?

Wayne defined that birch timber are very delicate and don’t reply nicely to heavy pruning. They might begin to over-compensate by rising too many new shoots or the wooden within the centre might rot.

I’ve one silver birch that’s round 15 years previous. It was trying very dense and the benefit of birch is that it’s mild and ethereal.

At 15, it’s too late for formative pruning, however Wayne suggested a light-weight pruning to make the crown extra ethereal. He additionally identified that there was a climber within the tree, which may very well be eliminated.

Silver birch - before and after crown reduction

Silver birch – earlier than and after crown discount

Are climbers dangerous for timber?

Arborists don’t like discovering climbers rising by timber. ‘For those who’re attempting to do work to a tree or assess its well being, then a climber will get in the way in which. And it could actually cowl up defects,’ says Wayne.

Many individuals assume that ivy, for instance, kills timber, nevertheless it doesn’t. ‘Ivy isn’t a parasite, it gained’t kill the tree,’ says Wayne. ‘However it could actually cowl up issues within the tree and get in the way in which of excellent pruning.’

Ivy is an excellent habitat for wildlife, particularly in winter, so there’s all the time a steadiness to contemplate, says Wayne.

For those who reside in the US, test whether or not English ivy is invasive in your space.

Are you able to plant 3 (or extra) timber very shut collectively to realize a multi-stemmed impact?

Once we re-vamped the backyard in 2010, there was a vogue for planting three timber collectively in the identical gap to realize a multi-stemmed impact.

Two of my timber failed and just one thrived. I’ve recognized a number of different folks have comparable points, though I do additionally know one or two folks the place this has been profitable.

Wayne stated that tree nurseries now extensively provide multi-stemmed timber. It’s higher to purchase them multi-stemmed as a result of many individuals do discover that a number of timber fail in the event that they’re planted in such shut teams.

One in every of our three timber died instantly. One other merely didn’t thrive. So we dug it up and moved it two years in the past.

‘The difficulty is that after they’re planted so shut collectively, it’s tough to dig them up with out reducing the basis ball an excessive amount of,’ says Wayne. So the tree usually gained’t do any higher in its new spot.

And certainly the tree we moved two years in the past has by no means regarded any happier in its new spot.

Wayne instructed we take it out. Younger silver birches should not costly and we’d most likely be higher off changing it.

Can you retain a big tree small?

We’ve a younger tree – a Liquidambar – which is round 9-10 years previous. It may develop a lot taller within the subsequent 10 years, however we wish to maintain it at across the peak it’s now.

I requested Wayne how we must always go about this. He stated that we must cut back it in peak inside the subsequent 5 years, then proceed to prune it again to the identical level each 5 years.

As a result of we’re beginning when the tree will not be but mature, there shouldn’t be an excessive amount of discount every time, so it shouldn’t stimulate too vigorous a re-growth.

The right way to discover a good tree surgeon

We engaged About Timber as a result of a good friend advisable them. These associates have a number of lovely mature timber and I actually appreciated what About Timber had completed with them.

You will discover certified tree surgeons and arborists by consulting The Arboricultural Affiliation within the UK and the Worldwide Society of Arboriculturalists worldwide.

Wayne defined that tree surgical procedure is split into two abilities. One is the usage of the tools and security. The opposite is what particular timber want, how a tree works and the way pruning differs. That’s why merely getting maintain of somebody who can use a chainsaw may very well be the worst factor you do to your timber. There’s extra about this in Tree Surgeon, Arborist or Chain-Noticed Man?

How a lot does a tree surgeon price?

I feel it’s vital to recognise that it prices cash to prune your timber correctly. It’s most likely the most important funding you’ll make when it comes to backyard upkeep.

I wouldn’t wish to let you know that you are able to do this your self ‘simply’. Pruning timber your self may be very harmful.

Nor do I feel it’s proper to counsel that every one you want is a couple of good ideas after which you’ll be able to have interaction anybody who knocks on the door claiming to be a tree surgeon and providing a reduction ‘as a result of they’re within the space.’

Tree surgeons have costly tools to keep up and a excessive degree of abilities. An affordable tree surgeon gained’t know as a lot concerning the timber and the way they need to look. Good tree surgeons are additionally more likely to be booked up. They don’t knock on doorways providing low-cost companies.

If in case you have a small backyard with only one or two timber, take into consideration spending a whole bunch of kilos (or {dollars}) on an excellent tree surgeon.

In a middle-sized backyard like mine, then you’ll be able to anticipate to consider the low 1000’s. You most likely solely must name a tree surgeon in each 5-7 years, or not even that.

You may also minimise how usually you want a tree surgeon by choosing the proper timber to your backyard. See Jamie Butterworth’s recommendation on selecting timber for small gardens right here.

And ensure you plant your tree accurately. It’s going to make an enormous distinction to the way it grows.

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What you need to know before pruning your trees



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