Caring for Your Trees

5 Things To Know About Size Management Pruning

A too-large tree in your yard can pose a hazard, as it is more likely to damage your home or become entangled in power lines. Size management pruning can help solve this issue, as long as it is used properly.

1. Tree Type Matters

Only certain types of trees lend themselves well to reduction pruning and size management. Pyramidal trees, which include many coniferous evergreens, do not respond well to size management. For this reason, pyramidal trees should only be planted in locations that are large enough for the tree's expected mature size. Trees with naturally occurring oval and round canopies do respond well to size management, though, particularly if the process begins when the tree is young. 

2. Younger Is Better

The age of the tree impacts how well it responds to size management. Young trees respond best to size management pruning, particularly if you start the first year after planting. With annual pruning, the tree is more likely to stay within the desired size parameters. Older trees do not respond quite as well as young trees to size management, but there are options to help reduce the size of the tree.

3. Mature Trees Take Time

For mature trees, size reduction must be done over the course of multiple years. A tree can't be cut back drastically in a single year, as this will shock the tree and possibly kill it. The tree pruning service will cut back each branch in increments over a few years. The result is a gradual reduction in size over several years until the tree is finally at the desired size, all with very little shock or damage to the tree.

4. Avoid Topping

One type of size reduction that shouldn't be done is topping. This practice consists of cutting off the top of the tree in order to make it shorter. The result is a flat-topped tree that looks unattractive and also will grow poorly going forward. The branches that regrow will be weak and spindly. The flat-top also is more prone to sun damage and it holds things like ice and snow, which can cause breakage of the branches. 

5. Maintenance Is Key

Size management isn't a once-and-done task. The tree will require annual pruning in order to stay at the desired size. Otherwise, the tree can put on extensive growth in as little as a year. Rejuvenation pruning that is done to reduce size over the course of several years can be stressful for a tree, so it is better to prune annually as opposed to only pruning when the tree has grown much too large. 

Contact a tree pruning service for more information.