If you search online for tree pruning or tree trimming advice – especially Brisbane tree pruning and maintenance – you’ll likely come across a heap of articles telling you to always prune your trees in mid-to-late winter. This advice is generally correct; however, you might still be doing more harm than good if you don’t do it right or if you are pruning trees that don’t need pruning in the first place.
To help you out, we’ve compiled an easy-to-follow crash course outlining the easiest ways to keep your trees healthy and vibrant and avoid tree pruning mistakes. If you want more information on how to keep your trees healthy and looking wonderful to increase the value of your property, give the team at Brisbane Treeworx a call today.
How To Prune, Fertilise and Maintain Your Trees
Tree pruning, maintenance and fertilisation doesn’t have to be a big job, but this depends on the number of trees you have and what age and condition they’re in.
Age of Trees
Many people don’t realise that older trees require less maintenance than young ones. Young trees require tender, loving care to ensure they live a long time and should be pruned annually for the first couple of years to control growth and enhance shape.
A Great Tool
There’s no doubt that you get what you pay for and that saying really rings true when it comes to pruning tools. If you use a cheap tool to prune with, you’ll crush the branch instead of creating a clean cut. Crushing branches causes more surface damage, which increases the chances of bacteria, fungus and other nasties getting into the tree’s system, whereas a clean cut heals very quickly.
Large branches should ideally be removed by a professional due to the inherent dangers of climbing trees with sharp tools, but if you’re going to tackle it yourself, your best bet is to use a bow saw or pruning saw. For smaller branches measuring less than 5cm, lopping shears would work well. Small pruning shears should be used on branches up to 2cm thick. Regardless of the tool you use, it’s very important to keep them sharp and just like a doctor, disinfect your tools between uses (with a little bleach) to ensure you’re not transferring fungus and bacteria from tree to tree and limb to limb.
Other than light trimming, heavy pruning should only be done to remove dead, diseased or broken branches. You can do it for aesthetic purposes, but you’re better off calling in a professional if this is the reason why you want to prune, as lopping off a healthy branch could damage or even kill your tree!
If you notice a broken branch on your trees, trim it as soon as possible (regardless of the time of year) to reduce the cut surface area and chance of infection by giving it a clean stub. The only exception to this is if the tree isn’t well. It is vitally important to never prune a tree yourself if it is stressed or sick, especially if it’s drought affected. Ensure any tree you plan to prune is healthy looking and well watered beforehand. If not, call in a professional.
Light trimming can also be done at any time of year, but heavy pruning should only ever be performed you’re your tree is dormant, during late autumn or winter. This also ensures the branches will be easier to see due to having less foliage.
How much should be trimmed?
This depends on the health of the tree and any issues and should ideally be determined by a professional arborist. As a general guideline though, no more than 25% of a tree’s live wood should be removed annually if the tree is young, or 20% if the tree is mature.
More Pruning Tips
- Never lop off a branch too close to or too far from the trunk. Instead, look for the branch ‘collar’, (which is like swelling of bark on the underside of the branch) and cut on the outside of this. If you’re unsure, don’t just chance it – consult a professional!
- Flowering trees can be pruned just after its flowers have died off. This ensures next season’s buds aren’t accidentally cut off.
- If there are branches growing upward or downward out of a lateral branch that’s in good condition, lop them off, as they can weaken an otherwise healthy branch.
- Trees sometimes grow a stem alongside the main one that’s co-dominant. If this competing stem isn’t removed, it can cause the tree to develop a multi-forked trunk, which weakens it.
- If you have branches crossing over each other that rub together and end up with damaged bark when it’s windy, prune one so it stops further damage.
Depending on whether you’re fertilising for general tree health or to correct a health problem, you should consult a professional arborist before heavy fertilising, as you can end up poisoning your trees if you’re giving them too much or the wrong type of fertiliser. As a general guideline, trees under five years old can be fertilised approximately once every four months (early spring prior to budding, early summer after blooming and and autumn). Older trees only need fertilising about once a year, if at all.
Fertiliser should be applied no closer than 30cm to the trunk and should reach to just beyond the outermost tips of the branches. Once you’ve applied the fertiliser, you should water the tree immediately and always follow directions carefully in regards to the amount you use.
Tree pruning and tree trimming is great for improving the aesthetics and value of your property, as well as prolonging the life of your trees, but only of it’s done correctly and with great care. Even damaged or diseased limbs could be saved if you bring in a qualified and experienced arborist to deal with any problems as they arise. Thankfully, Brisbane Treeworx can handle all your tree-related problems for a fantastic price. Whether you just want some friendly advice, need tree pruning or lopping, or even a whole tree removal, give us a call and we’ll cater to your needs.
Book a free, no obligation quote with us by filling out our contact form or calling 0400 249 099, 7 days a week.