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Farmer pruning an apple tree with pruning shears

Why Over Pruning Is a Bad Thing

We’ve all heard that pruning is good for trees since it encourages growth and keeps them healthy. It can also make them look better. However, problems can arise when people prune their trees too much. In addition to causing cosmetic concerns, it can lead to major health concerns. The team at Top Quality Landscaping can assist you with pruning. Having a professional take care of trimming and pruning can be a smart idea if you’d like the best for the trees on your property.

Weakens Trees

Taking too much away from a tree can make a tree weaker. Without the foliage that it’s used to, it may not be able to make enough food to stay strong. Removing the interior growth and leaving the tufts of foliage on the ends of the limbs can weaken a branch. This is commonly referred to as “gutting” or “lion-tailing,” and it can lead to a tree being more likely to fall down or get fractured in periods of heavy wind, snow, or ice. Becoming weaker not only has to do with the structure of a tree; it can also affect a tree’s susceptibility to disease or insects.

Removing the top of a tree is called “topping.” Sometimes, people do this when they feel that trees have gotten too tall. However, this doesn’t result in a natural appearance. Plus, thin branches will then emerge from the top of the tree and grow straight up. These small branches, also called sprouts, are likely to break off in storms. Topping can further make it more likely that a tree is affected by disease, decay, or insects.

Sunscald

Trees are used to getting a certain amount of light. The outer parts of the tree get more light, while the inner areas and the bark receive less light. If, all of a sudden, the central parts of a tree start to receive much more sunlight than they’re used to, the tree could suffer from sunscald. As we know, the strong Kentucky sun can be quite powerful, with average annual high temperatures around 87 degrees. So, this can definitely pose a problem for your trees. Like a sunburn, sunscald can lead to cracking and peeling bark. This can, again, make it more likely for fungus, viruses, bacteria, and insects to harm the tree.

What Next?

Of course, it’s always best to not over prune trees. If you’re not sure of how much to prune, you can reach out to our professional team for assistance. In general, our advice is to remove no more than 20% of the live wood on a tree in a single period. If a tree has already been over pruned, then we may have a few ideas. We can assess and improve soil drainage and soil composition (through fertilization), and we may be able to treat damaged areas.

Let’s keep our Lexington properties looking beautiful. Call us today for a consultation.

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