Mature trees are a very important part of your backyard. Not only do they provide shade on hot days, but they can also increase your home's property value by as much as 19%. To protect your investment, you need to take good care of your trees. You may not think that it's necessary to prune the trees in your backyard, but in fact, there are many reasons this procedure is necessary. Here are three reasons your trees should be pruned.
Increase air flow
If your tree's canopy is very thick, there may be poor airflow between the branches. Airflow is important for trees because it can slow down the spread of a lot of diseases that can damage or even kill your trees. These diseases include apple scab disease, a disease that affects crab trees and apple trees, and rhizosphaera needlecast disease, a disease that affects spruce trees. This is because when airflow is poor, moisture can accumulate on the branches and leaves, and this provides a great environment for fungi.
To make sure your trees stay healthy, ensure they are regularly pruned. To avoid stressing your tree, prune it when it doesn't have leaves, like in the late winter or early spring. Prune as few branches as possible to allow more airflow to pass through the tree's canopy; as a general rule you should never prune more than one-quarter of a tree's crown. If you prune too many branches, your tree might not have enough leaves left to survive, and it may even become structurally compromised.
Remove diseased limbs
When a tree is limbs are diseased, they need to be removed to keep the disease from spreading to the rest of the tree and killing it. For example, if some of your tree's limbs are infected with fungal disease or have been colonized by damaging pests, like caterpillars, the limbs should be removed before the problem can spread. Limbs that have cankers—dead areas of the bark—must also be pruned to protect the tree.
When you're pruning diseased limbs, you need to be very careful to avoid contaminating healthy parts of your tree. Between each cut, dip your pruning shears in a bleach solution to disinfect them, and remember to disinfect them before you put them back in your shed. Forgetting to disinfect the shears can allow you to infect other trees on your property when you prune them. If your tree is very large and disinfecting the shears between each cut will be challenging, consider hiring a tree maintenance company to handle the job for you.
Get rid of invasive limbs
Sometimes, your tree's limbs will grow in inconvenient directions. They may grow up against the wall of your house or they may grow onto your neighbor's property and cause conflicts. If your tree is growing in a direction that you don't want to grow, pruning is an easy solution. It's best to do this job yourself, before your neighbor decides to take it upon themselves to prune your invasive tree.
If the invasive limbs are too thick to be pruned with shears, a pruning saw will be necessary. First, cut a notch about a quarter of the way through the bottom of the offending limb, and then make a cut just outside this notch to fully remove the limb. Finally, cut along the branch collar. If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, hire tree service like Destiny's Tree Service LLC to remove the invasive limbs safely.
If your mature trees have never been pruned, it's time for them to be evaluated by a tree maintenance company to ensure they stay healthy.