5 Pruning Mistakes That Homeowners Should Know

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pruning mistakes

Proper pruning practices help your trees both thrive and look great each year. Bad practices cause your tree to appear misshapen or even affect its health. As expert providers of tree trimming services in Virginia Beach, VA, our team of arborists at Arbor Experts have seen lots of bad tree cuts from well-meaning homeowners. We’ll share the most common pruning mistakes we’ve encountered below.

#1 Pruning During an Inappropriate Time

One of the most common pruning mistakes property owners make is pruning at the wrong time of year. You should always prune in the early to mid-spring when temperatures rise above freezing for good. But some people try to trim their trees in the winter.

Trees go dormant in the winter, focusing all of their resources on growing a stronger root system. This is why they drop their leaves in the fall. Although the naked branches might look dead from a distance, they are very much alive. And cutting them could lead to an infection.

#2 Snipping The Tips Off of Limbs

Some people try to apply basic plant pruning practices to trees. Small plants like foliage and floral variates need regular pruning after their flowers die off. This practice can also keep the plant under control by making it bushier rather than leggy.

However, it doesn’t work the same way for trees. Trees and shrubs requires a completely different approach to pruning. By taking the tips off of a growing tree branch or limb, you encourage new growth to take its place. While this can stabilize smaller plants, it’ll only intensify the tree’s growth output and what you’ll have to manage later.

#3 Topping Maturing Trees

Topping refers to the practice of cutting off all large branch growth at the top. Some people make this pruning mistake to prevent their trees from growing into structures like power lines and roofs. Other people top trees to keep them lower to the ground.

Topping mature trees is almost always a mistake. Mature trees have already formed and nurtured a stable structure. They grow in such a way that they maintain structural stability.

By removing the large limbs, you could destabilize the tree. It becomes more susceptible to winds and flooding. It could eventually fall due to an unstable structure despite being otherwise healthy.

#4 Not Working with Your Tree’s Shape

While a bad haircut may not necessarily harm your tree’s health, it can certainly detract from its natural appeal. Trees with wispy, hanging branches like willows often fall victim to ambitious but unfortunate pruning cuts. Some varieties of conifer can also become unwitting models of a poor style.

For trees and shrubs with foliage that requires a more stylistic approach, leave the pruning to the experts. They’ll work with your tree’s natural shape and branch style, developing a naturally graceful appearance with each carefully placed pruning cut.

Arbor Experts Will Help You Avoid These Pruning Mistakes

The best way to avoid these pruning mistakes is to schedule services with our tree service company at Arbor Experts. We use pruning to improve each tree’s health and beauty. Call us at 757-500-TREE for a free quote.


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