Summer Pruning Pointers

Apr 21, 2014

By Staff Writer

Winter is typically the best time for vigorous pruning because trees are dormant. But minor upkeep on a nice summer day can keep your landscaping in top shape. Follow these tips:

Summer Pruning Tips

Use Proper Tools

  • Know which is which: a hand pruner is for stems and small branches, a lopper is for thicker branches and a pruning saw cuts through extra-large branches.
  • Always wear work gloves to minimize cuts and scratches. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from sawdust and debris.
  • Clean tools after trimming each tree to prevent the spread of disease. Disinfect with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, then wash in warm, soapy water and rinse.

Trim with Purpose

  • Snip stray branches on a tree that’s finished flowering to encourage more blooms next season.
  • Thin out branches to help trees get sufficient light and air, but avoid trimming more than 25 percent of a tree’s green leaves.
  • Remove dead branches to keep them from breaking off and damaging your home.
  • Trim ornamental trees to help them retain their shape.
  • Remove new shoots growing out of the trunk or branches. They can zap the tree’s nutrients.

Make the Right Cuts

  • For large branches: Cut a wedge underneath the limb about 6 inches from the point where the branch meets the trunk (the branch collar). A few more inches out, cut vertically from the top of the limb through the branch, then cut the stub parallel to the collar.
  • Smaller branches and stems: With pruning shears, cut at a slight angle just past a healthy bud or leaf.

Get additional pruning tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and more summer home maintenance advice from State Farm®.

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