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When it comes to maintenance, pruning is the most common task you can perform on a tree. But before cutting any branch, it’s important to recognize and understand the following:

  • Why prune a tree? The reasons are numerous: remove dead branches, improve the form of the tree or decrease risk of falling branches, which can cause injury.
  • When to prune? Routine pruning can happen any time of year, but some tree diseases spread more easily during the transmission cycle. Consult a professional on optimal times for pruning certain tree species.
  • How much should be pruned? This depends on the size, species, and age of the tree, as well as the pruning objectives. Younger trees endure pruning much better than older trees. A good rule of thumb? No more than 25% of a tree crown should be removed at one time, and much less for mature trees.

Remember: removing even a single, large-diameter limb can result in significant canopy loss and can create a wound that may not seal closed. Always take care when pruning trees by minimizing live branch loss and the cut wounds left behind.