Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time to Limb up for Spring! Proper Tree Pruning by M J Lechner

Early spring, before bud burst, is the perfect time to assess any small trees on your property.  A couple of things to think about as you walk around your yard:
Are your pruners in shape?  If not, its time to either invest in a good set of by-pass pruners or head to your nearest gardening center to have them sharpened. By pass pruners give you the clean cut you need when pruning. 
Do you spot any co-dominate trunks?  Now is the time to choose your leader and either remove or shorten the other branches vying for the top spot.  As hard as it is to pick, it will save you a lot of heartache in the future- especially when we have heavy wet spring storms!   Most limb failure in Colorado comes from unattended co-dominant  branches….

Are your small trees becoming exceedingly ‘decurrant’ or bushy?  We all want lovely rounded trees, but not too soon.  Delay the development of a decurrant form by maintaining the leader and selecting a few strong permanent branches higher up in the tree.
Are your branches ‘in the zone’?  For small trees, such as a Chanticlear Pear, you will want your canopy to be at least 5 feet up.  You can elevate the canopy by gradually removing the lower branches.
How’s your ratio? A good rule of thumb for any tree is to attempt to maintain a 60/40 ratio of crown to trunk.  That means the trunk should be a bout 40% of the total height with the crown comprising 60%.
Take advantage of this gorgeous weather to give your small trees ‘the once over’.  They will thank you by living longer, healthier lives in your gardens.