How to prune a dying tree
6 Things You Need To Know • Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm
Posted on by Lucy Clark
The trees and plants in the surroundings are living things that need to be taken care of. The trees and plants provide a lot of benefits not only to mother earth but also to us, human beings. Trees add life as well as color to the environment.
For some, trees can be a great addition to enhance your garden and home facade. Thus, in this article, I am going to share with you six efficient tips on how to save a dying tree in your backyard.
Note: This is a guest-post by Lucy Clark of GardenAmbition.com. Please join me in welcoming her to the Runamuk blog!
Ready? Here are the six things you need to know about how to save a dying tree:
1. IDENTIFY THE SIGNS OF A DYING TREE
Not all people can classify a dying tree from an already dead tree. They are completely two different things. The confusion starts because both look lifeless, dried up, and without any trace of green leaves. So, before you go ahead and save a dying tree, know first if it is dying or already dead. Nourishing a dead tree back to life would be pointless and time-consuming.A dying tree usually has a bent structure, cracks, decay and dried-up.
A dying tree may have the following signs:
- Bent structure – The tree is not upright because the root is losing its strength.
- Cracks – There is a continuous crack on the trunk of the tree.
- Decay – There are fungi or mushrooms on the surface of the tree.
- Dried Up Wood – Extreme dryness is a sign of a dying tree. The branches look lifeless and can easily crack when you put pressure in it.
- Light to No Leaves – Dying trees often have fewer leaves than healthy trees. Leaves can be found in a few branches.
2. IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEMAn arborist has the necessary training and knowledge to analyze and treat any tree problem.
Since you already know the signs of a dying tree, the next thing you need to do is to determine the cause of why it is dying. Determining the exact cause is quite tricky; hence, you might need to consult an arborist for proper guidance. This will increase the chance of saving your tree.
3. CORRECT WATERING ISSUESWatering can be detrimental to the health of some trees.
Moisture issues are commonly the reasons why a tree is prone to dying. Mature trees can be adversely affected by too much or too little water. Dehydration can kill all living beings – humans, animals, and trees. To ensure your trees grow healthy and sturdy, make sure that they are properly nourished. You have to check and make sure that the area where the tree is located has a good drainage system. Using your garden hose, set it on high stream and water the tree from 0.5 to 2 minutes. Control the nozzle and avoid drowning the soil with too much water. If you do not have enough time to water the tree, setup an automated sprinklers instead.
4. PROPER MULCHING TECHNIQUE
How does using a mulch save a tree? Mulching is one way to nourish the soil surrounding your tree. However, when not done correctly, it can be harmful to the trees. Be sure not to put too much mulch around the base. Just place enough mulch to allow the roots to breathe. Dig the ground so that the mulch has direct contact with the roots. Make it at least 5 inches deep. Using your rake, spread the mulch, only apply 1.5 inches of mulch. In doing so, it helps prevent a host of other tree problems like bacteria and fungi infections.Organic Mulch can save dying trees. It contains compost, tree bark chips, wheat straw and others.
5. USE FERTILIZERS ACCORDINGLYSoils with organic fertilizers remain loose and airy which can help a dying tree.
Fertilizers are another item that can help your dilemma on how to save a dying tree. When using fertilizers, avoid sprinkling or spraying it too much to the trees. Before jumping to the conclusion that a sick or dying tree needs fertilizer, test the soil first to make sure you are saving the tree and correcting the problem. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to get the full benefits of the fertilizers. When you are unsure, consult it first with an arborist. Perhaps, it is not the soil nourishment that causes your tree to die. There could be other factors involved like pests or dehydration.
6. PROPER PRUNING TECHNIQUE
If you want to learn about how to save a dying tree, it is helpful if you research on appropriate pruning techniques. Know the kind of tree and the disease because there is a proper pruning for each, and it should be adjusted accordingly. If there are unhealthy areas noticeable on a tree, correctly removing the diseased sections could save a tree’s life. Be sure to get rid of the unhealthy branches to prevent the problem from spreading. Use sanitized shears, knives, or saw to remove unwanted branches.Pruning can help your tree retain its nourishment.
GO SAVE SOME TREES!
There are so many ways on how to save a dying tree, but these six steps are the forerunner. In some cases, the reason why a tree is dying could be more than just about nourishment and diseases. Weather conditions and expected lifespan could also play a role. Trees have saved us so many times, and it is now our turn to save them. So, go ahead and look around your garden for some trees to save!
Thank you for reading and don’t hesitate to share your tree-story below! Happy gardening!
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A Complete Guide to Pruning and Trimming Trees
by Chris Lambton
As leaves fall from the trees each autumn, branches formerly covered in a canopy of dense foliage come out of hiding. Although many gardeners would rather never deal with the falling mess of leaves, I relish this time as an opportunity to inspect each tree canopy. It's now that I carefully make note of any branches I may need to remove from my trees. Taking advantage of these dormant months gives me time to develop a plan for pruning and trimming trees in my landscaping.
In this article, you'll learn:
- Why is it Important to Prune Trees?
- Proper Way to Prune a Tree Limb >
- Tree Pruning Tips >
- Pruning Thick Tree Branches >
- Best Tools for Pruning Trees >
Why is it Important to Prune Trees?
Tree limbs are pruned for multiple reasons, all of which result in a better looking and better performing tree. Although trees do grow quite naturally without pruning, this routine landscape maintenance allows your trees to reach their full potential and live a long life. But before you can learn how to trim a tree properly, you need to know why you should trim a tree.
Pruning for healthy trees
Pruning for plant health focuses on removing dead, dying and diseased branches, branches that rub together, and any branch stubs so the entire tree continues to grow in a healthy way. Opening up the canopy to let light and air filter throughout the entire tree allows for increased foliage while decreasing the risk of disease.
At the ground level, suckers and water sprouts weaken wood and steal nutrients from the main tree. By helping a tree establish one main tree and a dominant leader, you create a strong tree that's ultimately able to withstand winter storms and high winds.
Landscape maintenance and appearance pruning combine to create the ideal plant you envision. By pruning and trimming trees in specific ways, you can encourage fruiting and flowering, shape plants into specific forms and control plant size.
Pruning for safer spaces
While well-pruned trees are healthier, they are also stronger. Safety concerns are not often considered, but they're definitely a good reason to prune your trees. Trimming the trees in your yard creates a safe environment for your family and friends.
Dead branches, diseased trees and weak limbs are all a danger to people and property. When pruning trees, take a moment to assess if tree branches are becoming too close to safety lights, electrical lines or are blocking traffic views.
Depending on where you live, it is also important to prune trees to thin out branches and dead limbs before hurricane seasons. Too much foliage can result in trees being top heavy and falling over easier in storms while falling branches may damage a house or plants below.
Properly pruning a tree limb
When thinning, reducing and shaping branches and limbs small enough to cut with hand tools, keep in mind that your cuts are going to encourage new growth. With that in mind, cut limbs ¼ inch above a bud that faces the outside of the plant. This will be the direction of the new growth. Keep your cuts at a 45-degree angle to prevent water damage and disease.
3-cut pruning for thick tree limbs
Properly pruned tree branches form a callus where the removed branch once was. This callus is essential to the health of the tree. Most tree branches that are cut back to the trunk or a main branch will require three cuts to prevent damage to the bark. The first two cuts remove the weight from the tree branch, and the final cut is designed for the best callus growth.
The first cut: Underside of branch.
Travel approximately 18 inches up the underside of the branch you are removing. This is the perfect location for your first cut. Cut up about halfway through the branch.
The second cut: Topside of branch.
Move to the top side of the branch. Choose a location an inch further out from your first cut. Carefully cut down until the branch breaks free.
The third cut: Outside of the collar.
Find the branch collar on your trunk. This is the stem tissue around the base of the branch. With most trees, you'll see a slight swelling and rougher bark in this area. You want to make your final cut just to the outside of this collar, but without leaving a stub. Make a complete cut with a 45-degree angle kicking out from the base of the tree. This prevents water damage and encourages the quick formation of the callus.
Tree Pruning Tips
Pruning trees may seem like a large project—and it can be. I recommend leaving large, established shade trees to qualified arborists and tree care professionals. They have the appropriate equipment and training to remove large branches safely. Ornamental and fruit trees are the perfect place to start learning how to prune a tree. Most are easily accessible and require simple tools.
Start Pruning Trees Early On
A proactive homeowner begins pruning as soon as a tree is planted. Diseased, dead and broken branches should be removed right away. Pruning for shape isn't necessary until the first winter after planting. Regular pruning throughout the life of a tree reduces the amount of work necessary and the stress on the tree. Pruning a tree a little each year creates a strong and beautiful tree from the very beginning.
When is the Best Time of Year to Prune Trees?
There is never a bad time to remove dead, damaged or diseased branches. But most trees benefit from pruning in mid to late winter. Pruning during dormancy encourages new growth as soon as the weather begins to warm. The lack of leaves after autumn allows you to easily identify branches and limbs requiring removal.
Be aware that some trees can bleed sap when pruned during late winter. For example, pruning maple trees in winter is ideal but can result in bleeding. Don't worry – the sap will stop flowing as soon as the tree begins to put on leaves. It isn't dangerous and it won't harm your tree.
Although I like to make my pruning plan in the fall, I always wait a few months before I start to actually prune. Pruning trees in fall can introduce disease. In the event of a warm fall, it could even encourage new growth which will be damaged when temperatures drop.
Pruning trees in summer isn't a popular option, but sometimes can be beneficial if performed with caution. Experienced gardeners use summer pruning to direct growth by slowing down the development of a tree or branch. The best timing for this form of pruning is just after the seasonal growth has reached its peak. By removing the total leaf surface of the plant, you reduce the amount of nutrients sent to the roots and the overall growth of the tree.
Now that we've established when the best time of the year is to prune trees, let's talk about flowering trees. They don't exactly follow the rules. Flowering trees fall into two categories: early bloomers and late bloomers.
Early Blooming Trees
Early blooming trees set buds on last year's growth. For example, a tree blooming early in 2018 is blooming on growth from 2017. If you prune over the winter, your tree won't bloom. Instead, prune right after the tree finishes blooming. Early blooming trees include:
- Ornamental Cherry
- Flowering Plum
Late Blooming Trees
Trees that bloom in late spring to early summer set buds on this year's new growth. For example, a tree blooming in June of this year is blooming on growth from this same year. These trees should be pruned in early spring for the best bloom:
- American smoke tree
- Japanese tree lilac
Three Pruning Methods for Trees
There are many ways to improve both the health and the shape of a tree. The goal of each is to create a tree with good light and air circulation, attractive qualities and strength. The four most popular tree pruning methods for general pruning are crown thinning, crown raising, crown reduction and crown cleaning. You may notice that each pruning method involves the crown of the tree. That's because the crown of the tree is essential for producing leaves for photosynthesis. Without a strong and healthy crown, the rest of the tree will weaken over time.
Thinning the crown involves trimming a tree to remove specific live branches to reduce the overall density of a tree. Thinning is the most common pruning performed on mature trees. It increases sunlight penetration and air circulation. It can also reduce stress on selected limbs from gravity, wind, ice or snow.
Because the goal is not to change the size or shape of the tree, thinning should be consistent throughout the tree. You should only remove 10 to 20 percent of the tree branches from the edge of the canopy. Large trees benefit from removing end portions of limbs between 1 to 4 inches in diameter. Small ornamental landscape trees and fruit trees can be thinned by removing smaller limbs between ¼ to ½ inch thick. You should trim trees for crown thinning so that the tree still looks completely unpruned.
Crown raising lifts the bottom edge of tree limbs up to clear for traffic, buildings or a view. This tree pruning method should be performed gradually over a long period of time. Removing too many lower branches all at once can result in a weak tree. Remove only a few limbs less than 4 inches in diameter when pruning every year.
I like to take a few steps back periodically and look at the overall balance of the tree. The live crown on deciduous trees should make up 60 percent of the tree. If the trunk begins to go over 40 percent, the tree could become weakened. Most conifers can be balanced at a 50 percent crown and 50 percent trunk ratio and still remain strong and healthy.
Crown reduction is a tree pruning method generally used on older, more mature trees. It can help strengthen the tree and encourage new growth. Crown reduction removes a tree branch back to a growing lateral branch. When the growing season begins in the spring, this lateral branch will become part of the new tree crown.
I consider this method a gentler alternative to tree topping. There are smaller cuts, less of the crown is removed and plenty of old growth remains for structure. While crown thinning is performed to reduce limbs and foliage, the goal of crown reduction is to remove old growth while encouraging new.
Crown cleaning is the removal of dead, diseased and broken branches when trimming a tree. It can be performed at any time and should be included as a part of crown thinning, raising and reduction. Cleaning the tree crown strengthens the overall tree and prevents future damage to both the tree and surrounding property while increasing the overall safety of your landscaping.
Best Fiskars Tools for Pruning Trees
Now that you know how to prune trees, let's look at how to make it as easy as possible. Sharp, quality tree trimming tools can turn a dreaded chore into a quick task. I always keep these tools handy for all my garden pruning and trimming needs:
Fiskars pruners come with ergonomic handles and patented gear technology that gives up to 3X more power for cutting stems and branches up to ¾" thick.
Fiskars loppers provide reach and optimized power to cut through the middle branches up to 2" in diameter, where you need the most leverage.
Fiskars saws are ideal for removing large limbs and branches with clean, quick cuts. A unique tooth design cuts through wood quickly and smoothly.
Extendable pruners and saws
With extendable reach for branches up to 16 feet away, Fiskars extendable tools have a special low-friction coating for cutting branches as thick as 1 1/4 inch.
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 give full yields.
It is necessary to prune fruit trees in order to correctly 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 - at the end of March - beginning of 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 treetop pruner and a sickle-shaped garden saw, as well as a garden pitcher for covering tree wounds.
All garden tools must be sharpened and disinfected immediately before starting work. Immediately after cutting off the branches, it is necessary to cover the cut with garden pitch.
Pome crops are pruned first, and then stone fruits.
Do not delay pruning, because after the start of sap flow, it is no longer possible to prun fruit trees. Stone fruit crops can be especially affected by this.
Pruning of fruit shrubs begins at the end of April.
when possible, how to do it right, why prune fruit trees
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- When to prune fruit trees
Pruning fruit trees is one of the most important gardening activities. 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 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 process? 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:
- dead, diseased 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 root 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.
Thus, pruning garden trees helps not only form the crown of plants, but also stimulate fruiting.