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Tree Pruning Tips

For the greatest effectiveness in maintaining the health, appearance and productivity of trees, prune them on a regular schedule. The first time should occur 2 to 5 years after the tree is planted, then again every 5 to 7 years after that. Pruning should be done when trees are most likely to be dormant in the winter or early spring before new growth starts. This will prevent shock to the tree; insect infestations and disease are less likely during this time, and rapid spring growth will help to close wounds.

Never prune a tree if the need calls for standing on a ladder with a chain saw! Leave the larger jobs to professional arborists who have bucket trucks and other equipment to do the job safely. That aside, there are still many pruning jobs you can tackle on your own. They key is to prune unwanted and dead branches without harming the trunk of the tree.

The proper way to cut

First, undercut the branch to be removed at an angle away from the trunk. This will prevent tearing of the bark down onto the trunk when the heavy limb falls. Next, cut through the limb from above further away from the trunk than the undercut to remove most of the weight and bulk of the branch. Finally, locate the ring-like branch collar on the trunk of the tree at the base of the branch. Just on the branch side, make a final clean straight cut. Be careful not to damage the branch collar. With the new growth of spring, the branch collar will begin to grow over the final cut and seal the wound. Do not paint the surface of the cut. This will prevent the branch collar from sealing the wound, and can introduce disease.

Prune for shape, to repair injury such as from a storm, and to remove branches that are rubbing on one another. Also prune out branches with tents containing Gypsy Moth caterpillars.

Southern States carries a full range of manual pruning equipment to help you get the job done from names you know like Gilmour, Ames and Felco. We have both bypass and anvil type hand pruners for the smaller pruning jobs of woody shrubs and saplings. For the slightly larger jobs where you need more leverage, we have both bypass and anvil type lopping shears. For the higher, hard-to reach tree limbs, we have pruning saws with telescoping poles for extended reach.

We also carry a full line of chain saws, ear and eye protection, and heavy duty gloves for the biggest jobs.

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