The term pruning has almost become synonymous with topping (especially with mulberries). It shouldn’t be that way. Most people follow by example and there are a lot of BAD examples that are being used as the norm.
Pruning is an art. When you finish pruning your tree, the beauty of its natural shape should still be intact. Don’t prune just to prune or because it’s “that time of year.” If pruned properly, mature trees should be on a 5-7 year pruning cycle. Young or newly planted trees should be placed on a yearly pruning schedule for the first 5-7 years to correct potential problems. Follow the guidelines in our pruning section and become a Topper Stopper.
THINK ABOUT SAFTEY FIRST!
Trees will only get as big as they are genetically capable.
Topping hurts your trees by:
Topping, heading, hat-racking, de-horning or what every you want to call it is NOT recognized by any of the professional arboricultural organizations, urban forestry professionals, or certified arborist as an approved method of pruning.
When to Prune
The Right Tool for the Right Job
Removing limbs 1 inch in diameter or larger requires a 3 step process which will prevent the ripping and tearing of bark.
Step 1: Begin with an undercut. Start cutting on the underside of the limb about 1-2 feet away from the main trunk, cut up about 1/3 of the way through the branch.
Step 2: On the topside of the branch, move away from the undercut about 1-2 inches in the direction of the branch tip, cut all the way through the branch at this time.
Step 3: The final cut is made just outside the branch collar. Remember to support the stub.
HARDWOOD BRANCH COLLAR
CONIFER BRANCH COLLAR
Making the proper cut is very important in order to encourage proper wound closure.
Identify the Branch Collar: it can usually be identified by the swollen tissue where the branch attaches to the main stem or trunk.