Did you know that when a tree is injured, the wound lives inside of the tree as the tree grows over the damage? This is why you must prune carefully, so as to not cause lifelong damage to the tree. Understanding the difference between pruning young and mature trees is an important step in pruning correctly. Without this knowledge, you could take years off the life of a tree.
What’s the Difference?
When you’re pruning young trees, you’re primarily pruning them to reach a desired shape or form. As you prune a young tree, it grows in the direction it’s shaped. Mature trees, on the other hand, are pruned for the purpose of changing the canopy. It has gotten too big, it’s in the way, or it’s hanging too low. This is why young and mature trees require different forms of pruning.
Pruning a Young Tree
When you’re pruning a young tree, follow these steps:
- Think purposefully before you begin to cut. One false move, and the tree is damaged or growing in the wrong direction.
- Cut where necessary now, while the tree is young. Smaller cuts aren’t as risky as larger ones later on.
- Find the branch collar and cut just outside it to avoid damaging the trunk.
- Use proper pruning tools, not hedge shears, to do the pruning.
Pruning a Mature Tree
Pruning mature trees is a bit more difficult simply because they’re done growing and full of foliage. The best advice for trimming these trees is to leave live foliage alone. Permanent damage on a mature tree is tough to heal, and it can shorten the tree’s life. Understand exactly why you’re trimming the tree before you just start cutting away. Here are a few other important reminders:
- Never prune from the top to shorten a tree. Just as with young trees, cut full branches near the collar and remove height that way.
- When you’re trimming to create clearance, saw halfway through with an upward motion and then do the same going downward. Finally, saw just outside the collar for removal.
- Saws are necessary for these larger branches rather than pruning tools.
As we discussed, the difference between pruning young and mature trees is a delicate endeavor. Trees may look big and strong, but realistically, you can easily damage them if you don’t treat them properly. In fact, if you’re unsure about your capabilities, it’s best to hire a professional arborist to take excellent care of your trees. Good Morning Tree Service offers tree pruning in Austin, TX, and all the surrounding areas. We are passionate about trees and keeping them beautiful. Contact us, and we’ll come take a look at all your tree concerns.