Home > Blog

How to Prune Large Trees

When left on their own, landscape trees will not maintain their aesthetic and integrity structurally as they grow. That is why they need a high level of care. Pruning is one of the right ways of tree maintenance. Pruning large trees results in a better performing and looking tree.

Pruning is the process of removing dead, weak, or diseased branches or limbs from a tree. It also involves cutting off branches that rub together or branch stubs to create room for the tree to grow in good health continuously. You need a good knowledge of tree biology for you to execute a successful pruning. Engaging in an improper pruning could shorten the tree's life span or cause lasting damage to it. Thus, in most pruning exercise, you will need an arborist or a tree surgeon for healthy maintenance of your trees.

Reasons for Pruning

  • It makes the trees to reach their full potential growth and live a longer life. As you remove the weak and unhealthy parts from your trees, you create the opportunity for the trees to maximize all available nutrients and energy to grow more healthy and faster.
  • It allows for foliage increase in trees: Your pruning will allow more light and air circulation throughout the entire tree. This gives the leaves more light need for the production of tree food as well as decrease the risk of disease.
  • It brings a safe environment in your home and family: Pruning will make your home and family more secure as you remove dead and weak branches, which could pose a risk. Ensure you also remove branches that are close to the electric line and traffic views and safety lights when pruning your trees.
  • It gives rise to the desired tree appearance: You will be able to maintain a beautiful landscape and keep your trees your desired shape by controlling their sizes through pruning.

When do you Prune

You can prune your trees to remove weak, dead, or diseased branches at any time of the year. Pruning during late or mid-winter is beneficial to most trees. This is the dormancy period for some trees, and it will facilitate new growth once there is warmth in the weather.

You should avoid heavy pruning of live tissue on any weak tree immediately after spring growth flush. This is a period when trees have produce foliages using their maximum energy. The trees will undergo great stress when you prune them at this period.

If you prune your tree during autumn, it gives you the opportunity to identify the weak and dead branch to eliminate and improve the overall performance of your trees.

When you prune some trees in late winter, they may tend to bleed sap. An example of such trees is a maple tree. Note that the pruning in this period is beneficial to the tree, and the bleeding has no health implications over it.

How to prune your trees

You can use many methods to prune to improve the shape and health of your trees. Remember that you should make your pruning outside the branch collar of the tree. Also, you do not remove more than 25% of the crown of a tree, one single pruning. Below are four methods we recommend for your use in pruning your trees:

  1. Thinning: in thinning, you need to trim the tree and remove some certain branches of the tree to lower the overall density of the tree. Thinning is always appropriate for matured trees. It will increase the passage of sunlight and air through the tree and increase photosynthesis. It also decreases the effects of gravity snow or wind on the branches of the tree.

In thinning, the purpose is not to alter the shape or size of the tree. Thus, it should be done uniformly throughout the tree. You should only trim around the edges of the canopy of the tree about 10 – 20 percent of the branches.

  1. Cleaning: This involves the removal of weak, dead, and diseased branches of a tree during trimming. Cleaning a tree has no specific period of the year to be done. Clearing will improve the overall setting of your landscaping. It strengthens the trees and averts any safety hazards on the property around the trees, which could be caused by overgrown branches.
  2. Raising: this gives clearance for vehicles, houses, and pedestrians close to trees by lifting of the lower branches from the trees. You should perform this method of tree pruning gradually over a long period. Be sure not to remove any lower branches off a tree at once. This can make a tree to be weak. You can remove less than four inches in diameter from few limbs once every year. This way, you will maintain healthy trees through your pruning.
  3. Reduction: You can use this method of pruning to decrease the size of a tree, usually for utility line clearance. You will be able to reduce both the height and spread of the tree in this pruning process. The purpose of tree reduction is to remove old growth and encourage new ones. Thus, you can consider reduction as an alternative to tree topping. It helps to keep up the structural integrity and form of a tree.


It can be dangerous to prune a large tree, but when you follow the information from this article, you are such make your pruning successful and healthy to the trees. When you pruning will require the use of power equipment, get an arborist beforehand. He will ascertain the right pruning method that will be healthy for your trees as well as improve their appearance and safety.

More to Read:

comments powered by Disqus