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Q: Why prune trees in summer?

A: To control growth, as well as to maintain size and shape. Pruning while the sap is not flowing heavily in maple, birch and elm means that cuts will heal without draining the tree of its vital sap.

arborist pruning tree branchesQ: Which trees should be pruned in summer?

A: Maples, including Japanese maples; Birch, Elm, Pine, Spruce and Fir.

Q: Why do people have their trees pruned?

A: Often, homeowners have trees pruned when they are growing up against the house. Keeping branches off the sides of the house, away from gutters, windows and rooflines helps eliminate pathways used by insects and rodents.

Trees are also pruned to maintain a smaller size, especially when two or more trees are growing closely together.

Up-pruning low hanging branches is an fast and easy way to allow more light into your yard or through windows. Big conifers with a dense canopy of branches can be whorl pruned to allow more light through the branches. Whorl pruning is the practice of selectively removing one quarter of the branches that are grouped together in a whorl around one point of the trunk.

Q: My Japanese maple is getting too big, what can I do?

A: Pruning Japanese maples requires some specialized skill. The best approach is to first remove any dead, diseased or damaged branches. Trained masters have been known to meditate on the form of the tree, aiming to send branches in a certain direction in order to create the beautiful arching and curving branch structures you may have seen in a Japanese garden. Japanese maples can be pruned to control size, ¬†though much patience is needed. Each branch assembly is pruned individually and new growth is carefully pruned to control direction and size. Once this is done, the tree is best left alone. It is most important to only prune Japanese maples in June. As they are prone to verticillium wilt, June is the ideal time for pruning because the tree’s sap has slowed down its flow. Pruning any other time of the year, while sap flow is heavy, increases the chances of having verticillium wilt infect the plant.