While enjoying your property this summer, you may wonder when and how to prune your conifers. While pruning conifers shares many of the techniques and guidelines for pruning, there are some special considerations for evergreens. In particular, you should know that evergreens do not re-sprout in the way that deciduous
Why Prune Conifers?
This is an important question to ask yourself before you start. That’s because evergreens will not replace growth like other trees and shrubs. This is why many landscapers and arborists say to never prune conifers. However, there are occasions when it might be appropriate. For example, for form, size control, or plant health.
1. Prune for Health
First, you can prune evergreens for health. This is the best reason for pruning conifers. As when pruning young trees or shade trees, it is important to remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches as soon as they are apparent. Likewise, removing branches that cross each other and could rub against each other prevents injuries. Reducing injuries reduces entry points for disease.
2. Size Control
When choosing trees for your landscape, picking the right size and species is key to avoiding future tree services. However, mistakes happen or we inherit choices from previous owners. The fact is, from time to time we need to prune conifers to control their size.
3. Prune for Structure
As with pruning for health, pruning for form or the structure of the evergreen is important to the plant’s long term health. In particular, you should try to encourage one strong leader in your evergreen trees. Therefore, remove competing leaders as and when they arise and your evergreen will grow-up big and strong!
How to Prune Evergreens
While caution is needed when pruning evergreens, because they will not regrow like other plants, once you’ve decided to prune a conifer the steps are just like pruning other trees and shrubs. Namely:
- Choose your timing. Most evergreens should only be pruned during late winter and early spring while still dormant.
- Use clean sharp tools
- Wear safety equipment such as gloves and eye protection
- Use the three-cut process for removing heavy limbs
A three-cut process works like this. First, make a cut 1 to 2 feet away from the base of the limb on the underside of the branch. Cut about one-third of the way through the branch. Second, cut from above, just outside the first cut. This cut should completely remove the branch. Third, cut just outside the limb collar parallel to the attached limb or to the tree trunk if attached
there. Finally, if working on tall trees, near buildings or power lines, consider skipping the DIY and call in the arborist.
Need Help Pruning Conifers?
Arbor Tree Experts can help. Established in Webster in 1985 we are a fully licensed and insured tree service in Webster. Our team includes ISA certified Webster arborists working to ANSI standards. We offer tree removal as well as stump grinding and pruning. Likewise, we can help you choose the best trees for your unique landscape. Contact us for a quote.