How to cut large limbs from trees


Tree Trimming: How To Trim Large Branches

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Home 4 Seasons Tree Trimming: How To Trim Large Branches

Before you prune a large tree, remember, not just any cut will do. (rik_de_groot/Getty Images)

If you’re trimming trees with heavy tree limbs, you have to be extra careful not to damage the bark or interfere with the tree’s natural healing response.

Doing it right is actually no more difficult than doing it wrong, particularly if you think ahead to how much work it would take to remove a dead tree!

Here’s how to cut large tree limbs in your yard in three simple steps.


Improper cutting can lead to improper healing for a tree. (kookyguy/Getty Images Signature)

How Trees Heal

The truth is, trees don’t actually heal as we do. When you cut off a tree branch, the tree forms a special callous tissue (like a scar) that covers the wound to keep out disease and decay.

That scarred part of the tree will be there forever, sealed off so that the rest of the tree can keep growing. It’s very important to prune trees correctly so that we don’t interfere with this process – incorrect pruning will leave the tree weak and vulnerable to disease.

In the top photo, you can see the evidence of several large pruning cuts. The bumps show well-healed pruning scars, most of them completely covered over.

A “donut” shaped scar is normal, too. The callous tissue grows from the outside edges toward the center, so it’s still in the process of sealing over.


These guidelines show how to properly prune your tree. (Paul Hein/Getty Images)

How to Cut a Tree Limb

When trimming trees, you need to prune the limbs first. Proper pruning of large tree limbs involves three cuts:

  • Cut #1, Notch Cut: Cut a small notch in the bottom of the limb, 2-3 feet away from the trunk, and about a quarter of the way through. This notch will keep the bark from splitting when you make the next cut.
  • Cut #2, Relief Cut: Just outside the notch, make a relief cut completely through the branch. This removes the weight of the branch so that you can make your final cut without the branch splitting and falling.
  • Cut #3, Final Cut: This is the one that matters! Your final cut should be right where the branch collar (that swollen bump) transitions to smooth branch bark. Follow the slant of the branch collar. If you can’t fit your saw into the crotch at the right angle, then cut it from the bottom up.

Be careful to not harm the trees natural healing response. (Robin Zeigler/Getty Images)

Common Tree Trimming Mistakes

Cutting the Branch Too Short: We used to think that branches should be cut off flush with the trunk – boy, were we ever wrong! The branch collar is responsible for forming the scar tissue. If you cut into the branch collar, the tree will have a very hard time recovering. When you see rotten holes in tree trunks or seeping wounds, you’re looking at the aftermath of cutting off the branch collar.

Leaving the Branch Too Long: The branch collar on the trunk can only do its job of allowing the wound to heal if all of the branches that it has to cover over have been removed while leaving the branch collar itself intact. In the photo on the right, you can see how the branch stubs that were left too long are interfering with and actually preventing the healing process from taking place.

Failure to Make the Relief Cuts: Before tree trimming, if you fail to make the relief cuts and remove most of the weight of the limb, you run the risk of having the branch split off. This can cause substantial damage to the trunk, as seen in the photo at right. This can make the wound on the trunk susceptible to disease and insect infestation and take much longer to heal.

Further Reading

  • Trimming Limbs
  • Treating Cut Tree Limbs With Wound Paint
  • When To Trim Trees and Shrubs

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How to Cut Large Branches Off a Tree

Do you have a large tree in your front yard or backyard and are wondering how to go about taking care of it? Look no further, as Mr. Tree Services is here to help you properly learn how to cut large branches off a tree.

As your safety is our number one priority, we would first like to stress that if you are not comfortable doing this yourself, please call in professionals. We are more than happy to take care of this for you. However, if you would like to learn how to cut large branches off a tree yourself, these tips are for you.

In addition to looking out for your safety, we want to look out for the safety of your tree as well. Because of this, making clean cuts to the tree is important as you do not want to damage the bark or accidentally interfere with the tree’s natural healing abilities.

Once a branch is cut off from the tree, the tree forms callus tissue that covers the wound. This callus tissue acts as a scar that keeps disease and decay out of the tree. If tree branches are not cut correctly, this can be hazardous to its healing process, thus resulting in the tree becoming weak and potentially no longer growing.

First, start with a notch cut

The first cut made to your branch should not be a full cut, but should instead be a small notch. This should happen at the bottom of the limb of the branch, approximately 2-3 feet away from the trunk of the tree. The cut should be made about a quarter of the way through.

The importance of this first, not full, cut is that it will keep the branch from splitting when you make your next couple of cuts.

Second, continue with a relief cut

Now that you have your notch cut made, which is holding the bark of the tree steady, you may continue with the next cut, which is a relief cut. This cut should be made right outside of the notch cut, and about a foot or more from where you will be making your final cut. This relief cut should cut completely through the branch, leaving a much smaller branch stuck to the tree, which should be small enough to be able to lift with one hand.

The importance of this second cut is that it removes the weight of the branch from the rest of the tree. This prevents the branch from splitting and falling when you make your final cut.

Finally, finish with your final cut

Now that you have made the first two cuts to ensure your safety (and the safety of your tree), you may go ahead with your final cut, which is the actual cut which will remove the branch from your tree. This cut should happen where the branch collar becomes the smooth branch bark. If you are unsure of where this happens, look for the swollen bump of sorts that is located at the beginning of your branch. When you begin cutting, be sure to follow the slant of the branch collar rather than cutting straight down. If it is easier for you and the tool you are using (we recommend a saw), make the cut from the bottom up.

The importance of cutting the branch at the branch collar is because this is the area that will then form the callus tissue that will allow the tree to heal and continue to grow.

These three steps are meant to make things easier for you, but it’s just as simple to cause more harm than good, which is why we also want to share some common tree trimming mistakes to avoid.

Do not cut the branch too short

It may seem like cutting the branch straight off the tree with the trunk is the right thing to do, but that is not the case. There should not be a hole in your tree trunk post cutting, as this will result in the callus tissue not being able to properly form. Trees have an extremely difficult time recovering from rotten holes or seeping wounds, which usually results from branches being cut too short.

Do not leave the branch too long

In contrast to the above, leaving the branch too long will not do your tree any good either. If the cut is not made on the branch collar, the callus tissue cannot heal as the healing area is still covered. Leaving the branches too long will prevent the healing process from occurring.

Do not forget to make relief cuts

Step two of the three steps we shared above is important. If you do not make the relief cut, you do not remove most of the weight before trimming. This will result in the branch splitting off, which should not happen. A branch splitting can cause damage to the trunk, which is vital to the health of the overall tree. If there is damage to the trunk, this can make the tree susceptible to disease and lead to a longer healing period.

As you can see from all of the above, cutting off a large branch is a process. It is critical for your safety, and for the safety of your tree, that the branches are cut correctly. If it is not properly done, the healing process of the tree can be severely affected, resulting in future problems to your tree.

Additionally, be sure that you are comfortable using a saw (or whatever tool you choose) prior to attempting to cutting the branch off a tree.

If you are not comfortable with this task, please give us a call as we are more than happy to come and look at your tree and remove any large branches that are at risk for falling or are creeping too close to your roofline.

If you have any further questions on how to cut large branches off a tree, please give us a call. We’ll answer any questions or schedule an appointment with our experienced staff.

when possible, how to do it right, why prune fruit trees

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  • garden care
  • Journal of Horticulture
  • When to prune fruit trees

Pruning fruit trees is one of the most important garden maintenance tasks. For its correct implementation, you must adhere to certain rules. It is important, for example, to clearly understand how to prune branches and whether pruning should be done in summer and autumn. The procedure will pay off if it is performed regularly at the most appropriate time. When to prune trees in the garden, how to do it correctly, why do you need pruning of fruit plants?

Why are trees pruned in the garden?

What is the purpose of pruning trees in the garden? This is necessary in order to:

  • make harvesting easier;
  • create favorable conditions for flowering and fruiting. Pruning promotes the emergence of new young stems and, as a result, an increase in yield;
  • allow more sunlight and air to enter the canopy: a small bird should be able to fly through the center of the tree. Improved air movement prevents pests and diseases, and more light contributes to uniform ripening;
  • remove dead and diseased branches and stems, thereby rejuvenating trees.
  • give the plant the desired shape.

Spring pruning

Spring pruning of fruit crops is considered the most expedient and useful for the garden. It is important not to overdo it, because excessive zeal can lead to the fact that the tree will weaken or even die, not to mention a decrease in yield. It should be remembered, for example, that 30-40 leaves of an apple tree provide the conditions for the ripening of just one fruit.

Terms of procedure . Spring pruning will benefit the tree if done at the optimum time. When is the best time to start this procedure? If you start it too early, when temperatures are still low, the fruit crop may suffer from frost. If, however, tighten with pruning before the start of sap flow, then after it is carried out, the places of cuts will “heal” for a long time. The most suitable weather for pruning trees in the garden is clear, slightly frosty, with a temperature not lower than -5 ° C. For central Russia, this is usually the period from mid-March to mid-April.

How to prepare inventory . In addition to meeting the deadlines, there are other important nuances that determine how productive the spring pruning of young and fairly old trees in the garden will be. To carry out the procedure, you must first have the appropriate inventory, which, among other things, must be properly prepared. The tools you plan to use for pruning should be sharpened and sanitized. This is done in order not to cause unnecessary injuries and damage to the trees, as well as not to infect fruit crops. Sharpening the tool will be better if, before performing it, lower the cutting parts for some time in a salt solution (1 tablespoon per 1 glass of water).

Special considerations for pruning young plants . Pruning of young trees should be carried out carefully, avoiding excessive removal of branches and shoots. If the plant is still infertile, it is enough to rid it of diseased, damaged, thickening crown or hindering the growth of skeletal branches of shoots, as well as to shorten annual growths. If you need to remove the shoot completely, it is cut into a ring, leaving no stumps. In order not to damage the bark, when cutting a thick branch, first make a notch from the underside and then saw it off completely with a hacksaw from above. Remove excess branches carefully so as not to damage the kidneys with a cutting tool. When shortening to a kidney, the secateurs are started from the side of the neighboring branch, placing it at an angle of 45 ° in the direction from the base to the top of the shoot. The cutting blade should be 1–2 mm below the base of the kidney, the second blade 1–2 mm higher.

Branches to be removed

Branches to be removed from the fruit tree:

  • withered, sick and broken. Shoots affected by pests or diseases are best removed immediately, along with areas where fungi have appeared, such as, for example, a tinder fungus. Old fractures need to be treated. To do this, remove the broken branch by pruning for translation, level the cut surface and “apply a bandage” from garden pitch or other compositions;
  • the weakest of the two growing side by side and moving in the same direction. If the branches are the same and there is a need to keep both, they are redirected by breeding in different directions;
  • representing the basal branch, as well as shoots growing below the grafting site. The root branch must be removed before the tree becomes multi-stemmed;
  • intersecting, rubbing against each other, growing inside the crown;
  • which may pose a threat to property and human health.

Methods for pruning fruit trees

Two main methods are used for pruning fruit trees: pruning (shortening) and cutting (removing). When pruning, it should be borne in mind that the stronger the shortening, the more branching will be next year. If the tree tends to branch heavily, it is better to cut the branches entirely. If a short pruning is performed (about a third of the length of the branch), few shoots will appear at the top. With strong pruning (when a third of the branch remains), more powerful shoots will grow, which will diverge in different directions. Increments up to 40 cm long are usually not shortened. But if you want to activate growth, make a fairly strong pruning. Some fruit crops are characterized by low bud awakening. That is, annual growths are long, but branching occurs only in the upper part. In this case, a strong shortening stimulates branching and makes the crown more compact.

Types of pruning

Pruning of fruit trees can be:

  • sanitary, when cutting (removal) of branches affected by pests and diseases;
  • supporting or regulating, performed to limit the size of the plant (when individual branches are shortened or cut). This procedure allows you to prevent thickening of the crown, maintain the ability of the culture to regularly bear fruit, thin out flowers and ovaries;
  • forming. This is, in fact, the creation of decorative forms from trees on dwarf rootstocks using a frame and by repeated pruning;
  • anti-aging, which allows you to restore the ability to grow by significantly shortening the branches in areas with the optimal length of annual growth;
  • restorative, in the form of rejuvenation of old plants, restoring the ability to bear fruit, reducing the height of a tree, forming a crown or part of it from tops.

Is pruning done in summer and autumn

Beginning gardeners often have questions: Should garden trees be pruned in summer and autumn? Such pruning is quite acceptable, it all depends on the goals pursued. Often, gardeners prune plants during these seasons.

Summer . With the onset of the summer months, the growth of garden trees slows down. The supply of nutrients is used up and the plant begins to restore them through photosynthesis. Part of the generated energy is used to feed the summer growth, part goes into the roots to form a reserve for the next year. The lack of energy reserves at this time of the year can be used, for example, to reduce the size of an oversized tree. That is, if you carried out the main pruning in the spring, then in the summer you can cut the tips of young growths if you need to limit their growth. But spring is more suitable for removing large branches.

Autumn . In order not to harm the trees with autumn pruning, it should be remembered that whenever you cut a branch, for example, apple or pear trees, you leave a wound on the body of the plant. This is not a problem during the growing season, i.e. in the spring: after a few days, the wound will be covered with a layer of protective cells. In autumn, growth slows down and healing may not occur. That. autumn is not the best time for cutting branches on fruit crops, but this is practiced in the southern regions. Autumn pruning, which usually occurs after the end of leaf fall, is shaping, rejuvenating or restorative.

What a gardener will need for work

Pruning should be done in comfortable clothing that does not restrict movement and does not cling to branches. It is also better to wear special shoes with non-slip soles, a hat with a visor, gardening gloves and goggles. To carry out the work, a stepladder or other support may be required. Getting started, you need to make sure that the ladder is level and stable. It is better if you have an assistant when cutting trees at a height.

Conclusion

Thus, pruning garden trees helps not only form the crown of plants, but also stimulate fruiting. To control these processes, it is important to use the right techniques and prune branches at the most appropriate time of the year. It is more convenient to cut fruit crops with modern garden equipment and suitable tools at hand. The GARDENA range offers a wide range of tools for pruning fruit trees in the garden, including secateurs, loppers, pruners, garden saws and more.

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How to prune fruit trees: tips for beginners

Pruning fruit trees and shrubs is one of the most important annual operations, without which no plant can grow normally, develop and produce full yields.

It is necessary to prune fruit trees in order to properly form their crown, to prevent its thickening, which interferes with the access of light and oxygen to the branches and leads to the emergence of diseases and pests.

Without pruning, the yield of both stone and pome plants drops sharply, the fruits become small and tasteless.

There are different types of pruning, some of them are too difficult for a beginner gardener, and not always necessary. In this article, we will show you how to prune fruit trees with the least amount of effort and using the simplest tool that everyone has.

We have already talked about how to prune fruit trees in our articles: How to care for cherries, How to care for pears, Frost-resistant cherries, How to grow plums.

HOW TO CUT FRUIT TREES AFTER PLANTING

Pruning of young plantings begins at the age of three. It is necessary for a tree to form a crown correctly and quickly. Such a formation has been carried out for several years. And here it is important not to make mistakes, since an incorrectly formed crown will be very difficult to correct in the future.

The main thing is to correctly create the frame of the future tree. As a rule, two types of pruning are used in amateur gardens: sparsely-tiered and non-tiered. The first is the simplest and most accessible for any novice gardener. It is equally good for both stone fruit and pome crops.

In the first two years, fruit trees mainly grow the root system, and the growth of the aerial part is rather small. In the third year, the intensive growth of the tree itself begins, and if you do not start shaping it, then it will turn into a long thick “whip” with weak side branches.

Pruning of young fruit trees starts from the central conductor. It is shortened to a height of 75 cm, leaving up to 10 buds on it, from which new shoots and side branches will form. Thus, the first tier is laid.

The following spring, damaged and weak branches are removed, leaving the 3 strongest. This will be the second tier. In subsequent years, the third, fourth and fifth tiers are formed in the same way.

When the tree reaches a height of four meters, cut the center conductor above the top branch to stop the growth of the tree, otherwise it will be quite difficult to care for it. Your crown has been formed.

HOW TO TRIM Mature FRUIT TREES

Annual pruning of fruit trees promotes the formation of new shoots, increases the number of flower buds, relieves the crown of the tree from thickening, improves the taste of the fruit, increases yield, limits the growth of the tree and facilitates its care.

This operation is carried out in the spring - in late March - early April, before the start of bud break.

Pruning mature plants differs significantly from shaping a young tree. As a rule, it is limited to two operations: shortening and thinning.

Shorten branches to encourage shoots and buds to grow. A cut on annual branches must be made above the bud, and on a long-term one - above one of the branches.

This operation promotes the rapid growth of shoots below the cut. These young shoots will quickly begin to grow fruit twigs.

Thinning is necessary to improve access to sunlight and air circulation inside the canopy. This contributes to the formation of large, even fruits and prevents the appearance of diseases and pests.

During thinning, cut out all branches growing inside the crown or at an acute angle to the trunk. The latter can cause winter breaks in the tree.

Before pruning, all broken, withered and weak branches are removed, and then they begin the main work.

You can prolong the life of old trees with rejuvenating pruning. It is made for trees older than 18 years. The easiest way to rejuvenate is to shorten all branches by 2/3 of the length.

FRUIT TREE PUTTER

For pruning, you will need a short-handled pruner, a long-handled pruner for trimming the tops of the trees and a sickle-shaped garden saw, as well as a garden pitch for covering the wounds on the trees.


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