Removal of a limb needs to be carefully considered and executed properly. Future growth and overall health will be affected by every limb removed. Incorrect pruning can lead to undesirable dangerous growth or even death of the tree. Our professionals are trained to make proper limb cuts and leave your tree healthy for many years to come! In the event you cannot hire a professional arborist, we recommend following the guidelines below:
If possible make sure to remove any objects in the drop zone.
Sterilize your hand saw (prevent cross contamination between trees)
* As a rule of thumb, if you need to use a ladder, it's best to hire a professional to avoid any injury
What Limb to Cut/Remove
Remove competing leaders
Branches that area too low
Branches that are broken or diseased
Branches that are overcrowded or rubbing against each other
Branches that have weak unions. Remove limbs that have a crotch union of less than 30 degrees. Optimal angle for a strong crotch is 45-60 degrees
Branches growing towards the center of tree(Trunk)
Illustration of Reasons to Prune Trees (red branches are to be removed)
Types of Tree Limb Cuts
A reduction cut is primarily used when reducing canopy size or re-directing growth pattern. It is recommended to make cut back to a lateral branch equal to or at least 1/3 the size of the limb being removed.
The removal of a limb to a lateral branch that is bigger, not smaller, is called a removal cut. An example would be the elimination of a limb by cutting it back to the stem (trunk of tree).
How to Make an Appropriate Cut
A correct cut will minimize the impact on the tree's overall health. It will minimize the open wound and allow for correct healing. It is important to recognize and were the final cut should be done on a limb to allow correct healing.
Most tree unions have clear visual marks that will guide in making the pruning cut. A branch union is composed of the bark ridge and branch collar; this area has healing compounds that help the tree heal after a cut.
The cut should be done at a 45 degree angle just outside the branch collar.
To achieve a clean cut it's important to follow the Three Step Pruning Method.
First, make an undercut about 1/4 the branch thickness at about 6 inches to 1 foot from the final cut.
Make a full cut successfully dropping the lateral part of the limb
Make a clean cut outside the branch collar to remove the short stump left behind.
If done correctly, the Three Step Pruning Method will prevent bark from back peeling into the trunk if otherwise removed in one single cut.
If a limb is removed in a single cut vs Three Step Pruning Method the bark peeled will expose the tree's cambium leaving it susceptible to pathogens and disease.