Do you have mature trees on your property? Here is the correct way to prune them!


Photo: Zeterre Landscape Archtiecture

Mature trees are a thing of beauty, and they provide us with essential shading and wind cover, yet, much like young trees, a large tree does require regular care and attention. When pruning a mature tree, it is important that you do not injure the tree, especially as older trees find it hard to recover from excessive pruning, and with that in mind, here are a few tips from the professionals on how best to care for mature trees.

Removing Dead Wood – The first thing to do with a mature tree is to remove any dead or decaying branches. While tree lopping in Perth seems to be popular, there are other options, which do not damage the tree, and by talking to an experienced tree surgeon, you can make an informed decision on the best way forward.

Prune in the Autumn – This is the best time to prune mature trees, as it gives the tree time to recover before the next growing season the following spring. One goal when pruning is to shape the tree, but one must be careful not to trim back too much, as this can hinder normal growth.

Never Prune Flush with the Trunk – When removing branches that are attached directly to the trunk, you should never cut the branch flush to the trunk, as this will harm the tree. Rather make a small cut to the underside of the branch about 6 inches from the trunk, then once the branch is removed, cut a further 2 inches from the stump, which still leaves a few inches protruding from the trunk.

Safety First – Unless you are experienced at pruning mature trees, you are advised to call in an arborist, who has both the know-how and equipment to safely carry out the pruning. If you have a few mature trees on your property, call in a tree surgeon at the end of the summer, and he can prune them all in a single visit. There are many accidents when homeowners decide to climb a tree to prune it, and if you are not an experienced climber, you could cause yourself a serious injury by doing so.

The Right Equipment – Pruning a mature tree is only possible if you have the right equipment, which would include a long pruning saw, and if you are going to work at height, you should have a sturdy ladder, as well as a head for heights. Prior to making any cuts, make sure that the branch you are going to remove will not damage anything on its way down.

One practice that is often recommended is tree lopping, yet in most cases, this will damage the tree, and lopping should only be considered if there are no other options. Any good arborist would avoid lopping a mature tree whenever possible, as very often, the tree cannot recover from such major treatment, and will subsequently die.