Tree trimming is a normal part of tree maintenance, but it's useful for many reasons other than simply keeping your trees looking nice. Properly trimming your trees on the right schedule can help stave off disease, improve fruit production and encourage growth, and make the area around them safer. Before you trim your trees, there are also certain things you need to consider, such as the type of tree you have and the best time of year to trim.
Keeping Trees Safe
Trees grow plenty of branches as they grow, and there are two big reasons for this.
- Branches stabilize the tree by putting equal weight on all sides to help them grow straighter.
- More branches mean more leaves, so it's easier for trees to absorb sunlight for energy, especially when competing with nearby trees.
For various reasons, branches can start to fall from the trees or become weak, which presents a health hazard. Regular trimming makes sure that all your trees' branches are healthy and stable, so there's less of a chance that you or your house will get hit by a falling branch. This is also healthier for the trees, as falling branches can cause damage or weaken the tree.
Keeping Trees Healthy
Trees can be affected by various problems that, if left unchecked, can eventually weaken or kill them completely. Areas of dead wood can spread, and harmful fungi infections can spread to kill entire trees. Trimming dead or infected areas from a tree can greatly increase a tree's lifespan and save its life if it is able to grow back healthily.
If you're trimming a tree to remove harmful infections or dead areas, the best time to do this is generally during winter, when most trees are in a state of dormancy. This will minimize harm to the tree and also prevent any infestations from growing back. By contrast, you should avoid trimming these areas in the fall, as fungi easily spread during this time, and trees are entering their state of dormancy and will heal slowly.
When in doubt, research the types of trees you are growing. Some trees, like maples, should be trimmed in winter regardless of reason to minimize "bleeding."
Direct Tree Growth
To some extent, you have some control over the direction trees grow. Trees still need to keep their balance and keep a certain amount of leaves and branches to stay healthy, but influencing growth is useful if you have many trees growing together so you can prevent them from interfering with each other.
The best time to do this is mid-summer when the tree's spring growing cycle is coming to an end. This way the branches won't grow back very quickly, and you can dwarf the growth of certain areas while promoting growth in other areas. This is also a good time of year to trim for the purpose of trimming for aesthetics; the branches still have most of their leaves, so you or a tree trimmer (such as one from Mead Tree & Turf Care Inc) can see which areas need it the most.