Keeping the trees around your home intact and tidy not only lifts the look of your garden, it also removes the risk of branches and limbs falling through wild weather typically seen over winter, keeping you, your family and your home safe. Most trees will drop their leaves before going dormant in the colder months, making Autumn the perfect time to give your trees a little love!
The first thing to do is to remove any dead wood or dead branches. Focus on removing the three D’s – dead, damaged and diseased. To maintain the health of the upper branches, remove any “suckers” – these are the new vertical shoots growing from the base of the tree. Clear away unwanted branches from buildings, guttering or pathways and clip off any dead flower heads on your flowering trees.
The main canopy of the tree should also be trimmed at this time. If you want the canopy to be contained, trim off any wayward branches and the overall look of the tree can be maintained to the size and shape you desire. Remove any branches that are growing towards electrical wires or towards your house. Keep an eye for any branches that are headed towards your neighbours house and fenceline too!
While removing limbs from healthy trees might not feel right, it’s a smart way to reduce the risk of damage to your home and your family in high traffic areas. It also promotes healthy and dense growth, and will help to keep them to a manageable size so you can continue to maintain them for years to come. As a general rule, anything over 6 metres should be left to a professional.
Under-pruning the tree is also an important part of tree maintenance. Under-pruning is the removal of the lower branches to expose the trunk. This has a few advantages, including removing any dangerous or eye-height branches that could strike you in your face. Exposing the trunk also gives a tree a lovely natural form, with a clear definition between the trunk and canopy. It will also allow any plants of lawn below acess to ample light, airflow and rainfal. Once the trunk has been cleared, you may want to highlight the tree with some lighting. Spot-lights shining up the trunk look fantastic, and they highlight the trunk and branch structure of the tree.
After you’re done pruning, hang on to your cuttings and any thicker branches. Smaller pieces can be put through the shredder and added to your compost, and the larger pieces can be chopped up to keep your fireplace going all the way through Winter!