February is for Pruning Part 2 – Six Pruning principles
You will discover that pruning advice will differ from tree to tree and from arborist to arborist but some general principles remain the same. Some of them are outlined below:
- Before you begin, look at the overall structure of your tree. Identify the main leader up the centre of the tree. Keep this in mind as you prune the tree. We’ll need this later.
- But first target any weak, crossing, rubbing and dead branches from your trees. This will allow healthy branches to grow without being impeded. It will also encourage new stronger growth in the summer.
- Then you should remove smaller branches to allow more air and light to penetrate the center of the tree.
- Keep main or leading branches that look strong so as to maintain the tree’s vigor and shape. If there’s two competing branches running up the center of the tree ( see 1. above), then remove the weaker competitor. There are exceptions to this approach, with apple trees for example. Sometimes, it’s best to consult an expert first.
- Don’t leave stumps which can attract infection and rot. Cut at the node of the branch where one branch attaches to the other.
- Above all, make sure that you do not remove more than one quarter of the overall canopy of the tree as you can over-prune it. Yes, it may grow back eventually to cover your over-exuberance but it will be at the expense of flowering and fruiting branches in the coming season.
Just a brief reminder to fertilize your citrus fruit trees – February is the first of 4 months in the year when you can fertilize citrus trees – (February/May/August/October).
Finally, a word of warning; pruning your particular tree species at the wrong time may cause irreparable damage. For example, anything that flowers in the Spring will already have made buds and should not be pruned in February. A good way to get expert advice if you don’t like or completely trust the YouTube option is to consult a trained and certified arborist. They can come to you and give timely and informed advice on all tree species before you start work. And the benefit of inviting them in the winter is that they’ll be less busy!
For trees over 30 feet tall or near power lines, don’t risk it – let us prune your trees. We’ll be less busy in February.
Call Tree Top Pros for any tree care issue you may have.
Kindly Note: The accuracy of this calendar and timings shared within it cannot be guaranteed. States in the USA are at different latitudes, longitudes and have varying elevations. This makes the general advice we give hard to fit all states the same. Compounding these differences are the type of tree species that vary between states. Furthermore, each state has its own weather patterns and levels of rainfall. All this calendar can do is broadly summarize best practice care for your trees. We therefore suggest that you consult your local arborist for more specific insights and advice relevant for your particular location.