Can you prune it yourself?
Only prune young trees, and only if you can do it with both feet on the ground. If you must use power tools, climb the tree, or if the branch is within 10’ of a utility line, call an arborist.
Pick the right tools.
Use sharp bypass pruners or loppers. For larger branches, use a sharp arbor saw with a curved blade. Wear eye protection!
Use the 3-step method.
1. Cut one-third of the way through the branch on its underside.
2. Cut 2” to 4” beyond the undercut to remove the bulk of the branch.
3. Make the final cut just outside the branch bark ridge and trunk collar (the bulge where branch meets branch).
Choose cuts carefully.
- Locate the central leader (the vertical stem at the top of the trunk).
- Do not cut the leader or remove more than one-quarter of the tree’s mass.
- Remove branches...
- that are dead or damaged.
- where the branch’s diameter is more than half as wide as the trunk’s.
- that are growing too closely together.
- that are lower than one-third of the tree’s total height (but only if they impede ground traffic).
Visit the kind folks at Spotts Garden Service, and be sure to ask Jerome your pruning questions. And join Spotts Garden Service on January 27 for their annual Soup and Seeds party!