PROPER TREE CARE & PRUNING
For Antigo Times
Why Pruning is important:
- Young trees are pruned to establish good branch structure and spacing, a central trunk and proper trunk taper.
- Mature trees are pruned to remove dead and/or hazardous limbs.
- Pruning along streets ensures there are not any vision obstructions and clear sight lines for drivers, walkers, and bikers.
- Correctly pruned trees enhance aesthetics and may increase property value.
When to Prune:
- The best time to prune deciduous trees is when they are dormant, which is typically November – March in Wisconsin.
- Second best time is mid-summer, after leaf growth is complete.
- Worst time is in the spring when tree buds and/or leaves are still growing and food reserves are low.
- Dead limbs may be removed any time of the year.
- It is recommended by the Wisconsin DNR that you avoid pruning, cutting or wounding oak trees from April – July.
- As a tree gets older, less live limbs or material should be removed, no more than 25% at most.
What to Do:
- Limit pruning of newly planted trees to dead, broken or torn branches, or to establish only one central trunk if the tree has two or more.
- Structural pruning may begin the second or third year after planting and every other year thereafter until about year 10.
- At maturity the lower 1/3 of the trunk is to be void of limbs.
- After year 10, pruning every 5 or 7 years should reduce any major structural problems.
- Avoid removing branches larger than 4” in diameter.
- Cut close to the parent limb or trunk. Never leave a stub from a pruned branch that a baseball cap can hang from. There should be no flush cuts that remain outside the Branch Bark Ridge (BBR) and Branch Collar (see diagram).
- Remove each time you prune:
- Crossing branches
- Competing branches
- Broken branches
- Dead branches
- Vertical downward-growing branches
- Sucker branches
- Never prune or cut:
- Tree’s leader, the top-most growing point of the tree (this is vital to letting the tree develop it’s natural form)
- Never top a tree, which stubs off large limbs regardless of their function and location within the tree. Topping subjects trees to large open wounds that will not quickly or easily close. It allows insects, disease and decay damage to occur and drastically shortens the life of your tree. Topping also stimulates the rapid growth of multiple, weakly attached branches.
- Pruning Paints/Sealers are not recommended on pruning cuts as they actually inhibit or slow the callusing or woundwood process.
- Ensure your tools are sharp, and you have the appropriate safety gear. Proper pruning ensures your investment in your newly planted tree is managed and well care for.