Trimming your trees properly is key to keeping them healthy and looking good. Unfortunately, pruning sometimes hurts trees because plant diseases get spread around in the process. The following tips can help you prune without making your trees sick.
Tip #1: Keep your tools clean
Shears and pruning saws can be major vectors of disease. If you trim a tree that is infected with a bark fungus, for example, and then use those same shears to trim another tree, the fungus can get into the second tree via the pruning wound. To avoid this, only trim one tree at a time and disinfect your tools after each tree. Keep a bucket filled with a dilute bleach solution to dip the tools to disinfect them. If there is sap on the tools, you can often wipe it off easily with rubbing alcohol. You should also disinfect after cutting a diseased branch off of an otherwise healthy tree, simply so you don't spread the disease pathogens to the rest of the plant.
Tip #2: Avoid bark damage
Pruning will naturally leave wounds, but the goal is to leave clean wounds that the tree will be able to seal off. When pruning a branch off completely, cut it just in front of the raised bark at the base, which is called the branch collar. Cutting into the collar damages the bark and prevents healing. If you are making a cut mid-branch, then try to cut just in front of a leaf or bud. This area will be actively growing, which also aids healing. To avoid tearing the bark when you cut, use the right tool. Bypass pruning shears should be used on branches narrower than your thumb, and a pruning saw should be used on anything larger.
Tip #3: Clean up any messes
The leaves, twigs, bark, and branches that fall down when you prune should never be left laying around the tree. Pathogens, including fungal spores, viruses, and insects, can survive in this detritus to reinfect the tree or spread to a different one. Rake up everything and either dispose of it or compost it. Keep in mind, if you have had disease issues with a tree, the clippings should be trashed since sometimes pathogens can survive the home composting process.
As you can see, being proactive with tool cleaning, trimming carefully, and leaving no debris behind can help you keep your landscape trees healthy after pruning. If you need more help, contact a tree service in your area, such as Branched Out LLC.
As a child and teenager, I watched my mother garden, although I wasn't interested in it at the time. I later learned that I had missed out on learning the craft because before I planted my first garden, I thought it would be so easy! Once I finally had a yard of my own, I was eager to plant some beautiful flowers in the yard and do other landscaping work. Unfortunately, I learned a hard lesson and none of things I planted survived more than a few weeks, even though I watered them daily. I gave my mother a call and asked her what could have gone wrong, and I learned that plants have to be chosen carefully. Check out this blog to learn more landscaping plant tips.