"Can I prune my trees despite recent, unusual weather fluctuations?"
"How would pruning affect drought-stressed trees?"
These are some recent questions we've been getting as people are feeling the warmer weather and thinking of tidying up their homes and gardens, something we all like to refer to as spring cleaning.
While pruning could cause further unnecessary stress on your trees if done incorrectly, Bal Rao, Davey's research and technical development manager, says minimal pruning, such as creating air tunnels in the canopy to help trees withstand storms, is acceptable.
Drought Check. When it comes to drought, before deciding whether to prune your drought-stressed tree, first remove excess leaves. If moisture is present, growth will remain and buds will emerge. Also evaluate the tree's surroundings, such as sidewalks, buildings and other obstructions, and the value of the limbs in question.
Rao uses three levels to determine the value of tree roots and branches:
Pruning Pointers. In general, never prune more than 25 percent of your tree's foliage at one time. "In theory, you are making the tree 25 percent less efficient by reducing the photosynthesis surface," Rao says. In some cases, cabling and bracing might be better for your tree than pruning.
But if pruning is necessary, a few guidelines can help you protect your trees from further damage:
Some trees prefer to be pruned during certain times of the year, so check with your local, licensed arborist for advice.