Do you have a pruning job that you’d like to tackle but are a bit of a novice and not sure if you can pull it off? You can! Especially once the leaves fall—you’ll have a better view of the structure of your tree which will help in making proper, accurate cuts.
With that said, it’s not as simple as snipping off unwanted limbs and branches with any old thing that you have in your shed. If you are planning on pruning, here are the three mistakes you should avoid.
Using Incorrect or Unsharpened Tools
Having the correct tools can make or break your pruning job. Hedge shears and anvil pruning shears are examples of tools that you do not want to use to prune your trees. Hedge shears are not designed to cut through wood, so there is a lot of ripping and twisting that you must do to remove the limbs—which is not good for the tree.
A high-quality bypass-blade hand pruner or a pole pruner are better options that will make clean cuts. Even if you have the correct tool, make sure that it’s sharp. Dull blades will cause unnecessary harm to the tree. It’s a good idea to sharpen your blades a couple of times a year if you use your tools frequently. If your tree is large, you’ll need a pruning saw. It’s a bad idea to cut a branch larger than half inch diameter with hand pruners.
Making Bad Cuts
Another pruning practice you should avoid is making a cut that is too stubby or one that is too flush. Having the correct tools as mentioned above will help you make a proper cut, but make sure you are not leaving behind a stub.
Look for the “collar” located at the base of the branch and cut just beyond it. You never want to cut into it so be careful!
Taking on a Job that’s too Large
Not only is a large pruning job a lot of work, but it’s dangerous. If you have an older tree that needs extensive pruning, think about the time you’ll need to finish the job and clean-up. Are you willing to put in the time to complete the task? What are you going to do with the branches?
Also, think about if you can safely do the job. Do you have the right tools and gear to do the work without risking injury? If you bite off more than you can chew, you may need to call a tree company to finish the job safely.
The professionals have the correct equipment, manpower, and foresight to drop a large branch without a problem. If you aren’t confident in your skills, it’s not worth the risk of tackling a large project.
With the right tools, proper cuts, and a manageable sized job, you’ll be able to get your trees in shape for spring. The mistakes we mentioned above can cause irreversible harm to your trees—heed our advice and happy pruning!