Tree Restoration and Pruning
Trees are damaged by storms and they require restoration pruning. Properly pruning trees that are damaged by high winds and years of improper pruning are ideal candidates for this type of pruning.
The type of tree that needs pruning is very important because it may not have the ability to be restored properly. The extent of the damage is also important. Sometimes the tree is damaged severely and cannot be restored successfully even if you have consulted a certified arborist.
Light pruning and removal of dead wood can be done any time of the year.
Pruning during dormancy is the most common practice. It results in a burst of new growth in the spring and should be used if that is the desired effect. It is usually best to wait until the coldest part of winter has passed. Some species, such as maple, walnuts and birches, may “bleed”—when the sap begins to flow. This is not harmful and will cease when the tree leafs out.
To direct the growth by slowing the branches you don’t want; or to slow “dwarf” the development of a tree or branch, pruning should be done soon after seasonal growth is complete. The reason for the slowing effect is that you reduce the total leaf surface, thereby reducing the amount of food manufactured and sent to the roots. Another reason to prune in the summer is for corrective purposes. Defective limbs can be seen more easily, or limbs that hang down too far under the weight of the leaves.
Pruning Flowering Trees to Enhance Flowering
If your purpose for pruning is to enhance flowering:
- For trees that bloom in spring, prune when their flowers fade.
- Trees and shrubs that flower in mid- to late summer should be pruned in winter or early spring.
Because decay fungi spread their spores profusely in the fall and healing of wounds seems to be slower on fall on cuts, this is a good time to leave your pruning tools in storage.
How Much Water and When
Not enough water is harmful for the tree but too much water is bad as well. Over-watering is a common tree care mistake. Please note that moist is different than soggy, and you can judge this by feel. A damp soil that dries for a short period will allow adequate oxygen to permeate the soil.
As a rule of thumb your soil should be moist. Usually 30 seconds with a steady stream of water from a garden hose w/ a diffuser nozzle per tree seedlings is sufficient. Mulching is also key in retaining moisture in the soil.
You can check soil moisture by using a garden trowel and inserting it into the ground to a depth of 2", and then move the blade of the trowel back and forth to create a small narrow trench. Then use your finger to touch the soil. If it is most to the touch, then they do not need water.
Watering Trees After the First Two Years
After your tree has been established in your yard for two years the roots will be established. This will allow your tree to withstand a wider range of water conditions including on its own because it has a proper root structure.