Do you have to Prune Trees?
Do You Have To Prune Trees?
Although there are some exceptions, most trees will benefit from pruning (trimming or removing parts of the tree). There are many reasons why we prune ornamental and fruit trees - usually it is done either to control the size and shape of the tree or to improve its health. For fruit trees, this can even increase the size of your crop - so it’s important to know the best way to do it, and when.
What Tools to Use
Pruning Shears/secateurs - for small, easy to reach branches
Loppers/Long handled pruners - used for out of reach branches and thicker branches
Pruning saw - for branches too thick to cut through.
Wiping your tools after pruning and keeping them sharp gives cleaner cuts which help the trees heal faster.
Ornamental trees are pruned to keep their shape and size manageable as well as to keep them healthy by removing dead or diseased parts.
Firstly, find out if your tree is Deciduous or Evergreen. Deciduous trees should be pruned in autumn or winter when they are dormant (not growing). If you prune a tree when it is in its growth phase, it could bleed sap, damaging or killing it. The exceptions to this are maple, horse chestnut, birch, walnut and cherry trees, which bleed even at the end of the dormant period, so they need to be pruned in mid-summer when their new growth has matured.
By pruning away some of the branches, we make sure the tree’s energy is directed towards those that remain, making it stronger and healthier.
Evergreen trees rarely need pruning, except to remove dead or dying branches.
We prune fruit trees to let air and light circulate more freely, reducing the branches to avoid them bending or breaking under the weight of the fruit, and to avoid crowding the developing fruit.
Fruit trees can also be pruned and trained into shapes such as cordons, fans and espaliers - check out our guide here.
The Three 3Ds
Dead, Damaged or Diseased!
If any of the three Ds apply to a part of your tree, it needs to be removed. This can be done at any time of year.
For better pruning and healthier trees, always check the instructions for your tree’s species on our product pages. Finally, never prune trees or hedges in the nesting season (February-August) unless you can see clearly that there are no birds’ nests in them.
Still looking for more advice?
Find more gardening knowledge guides by clicking the button below.