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Understanding the Consequences of Bad Tree Pruning

If you care about your trees and see their value, you probably know the importance of regular pruning. However, have you considered what happens after bad tree pruning? 

As Louisville’s reliable tree service, Tree Care Inc. can educate you about the effects of improper pruning techniques. When you need tree care you can rely on, our certified experts to create exceptional results that won’t harm your tree.

What Is Tree Pruning?

Tree pruning involves purposely and strategically removing portions of the tree to maintain or improve its health. Arborists may target branches, buds, and roots for the pruning. They focus on removing parts of the tree that make it unhealthy, such as a rotting branch or an overgrown portion that prevents sunlight from reaching the inner tree.

When completed correctly, pruning creates a more beautiful, healthier, and stronger tree. It keeps tree diseases from spreading throughout the rest of your yard and also plays a major role in preventing your tree from falling and causing property damage.

What Happens After Bad Tree Pruning?

Whether from over-pruning, improper timing, or damage from equipment, pruning can go horribly wrong without the right training and tools. After bad pruning, your tree can develop several issues.

Decay or Death

Improper pruning can damage tree health, causing the eventual decay and death of the tree. This most often occurs when the pruner cuts the smaller branches or stems using flush cuts. 

These cuts remove the branch, so it lies even or flush with the trunk. This removes the branch’s “collar,” which the tree uses to heal and keep damage from spreading to the rest of the tree. With the collar gone, the tree can’t properly heal, much like leaving an open wound on your body rather than dressing it with a bandage.

Damaged Structure

Improper pruning often leads to poor tree structure. One major cause of this is over-pruning or removing too many branches from your tree. This can leave the tree without enough leaves to feed itself, leaving it weak. 

Over-pruning or uneven removal of branches can create poor weight distribution. This can force the tree to lean or become more vulnerable to strong winds. Some parts of the tree can suffer from too much sunlight, and over-pruning can cause direct sunlight to cause more rapid decay in these portions.

Finally, pruning can damage the structure of a tree when you cut the wrong root. Whereas smaller roots help the tree absorb water, the larger ones keep the tree upright. If a homeowner prunes a large root protruding from the ground because they worry about the tripping hazard, they can end up doing more harm than good.

Damage From Equipment

Pruning a tree requires a variety of tools, from sheers to gas-powered trimmers. An inexperienced pruner may either use the wrong tools or not use them incorrectly and nick the tree in a place they shouldn’t. A poorly maintained or stored pruning tool can also grow bacteria, which then transfers to the tree during the pruning process.

A professional tree service rarely causes damage to a tree during the pruning process, and if they do, you’re not liable for the resulting tree care or removal.

Tree Topping

Tree topping occurs when you remove a large number of upper branches without leaving much foliage. If you get bad advice online or from a subpar tree service, you might think this can encourage new growth. Tree topping qualifies as bad tree pruning because it disrupts the tree’s natural growing cycle and causes an insurmountable number of wounds the tree likely won’t heal from.

Interior Sprouting

While the right pruning can help more sunlight pierce through the canopy and reach the inner parts of the tree, those are also the buds and branches most vulnerable to direct sunlight. Interior sprouting occurs when too much sunlight scalds the vulnerable bark of the tree. This can also lead to unnatural growth patterns in the tree.

Safety Hazards

Pruning your tree uses potentially dangerous equipment and often requires rigging or climbing into the tree to reach the higher areas. The danger becomes greater when the tree grows near power lines or other structures. Because bad pruning can damage the structural integrity of the tree, it can leave the tree vulnerable to falling over and injuring a person or destroying property.

Caring for Your Tree

How can you care for your tree so you don’t suffer the consequences of poor tree health?

Regular Professional Pruning

In general, you should prune your trees every three to five years and should always hire a professional tree service for the job. This keeps your tree healthy and prevents safety hazards or poor results. 

Arborist Tree Care

The best thing you can do for your tree is regularly consult with a certified arborist. To start, schedule an annual inspection to examine your tree’s health and address any issues before they become serious. A certified arborist can perform the following services:

  • Assessing the quality of your soil and creating a fertilizer that makes up for missing nutrients
  • Diagnosing and treating tree diseases and fungus
  • Effective tree pruning and trimming that keeps the tree healthy
  • Aiding in tree removal
  • Taking a tree inventory, which helps determine the best trees for your yard

When you partner with a qualified arborist, you gain a beautiful, safe property that enhances the value of your home. Pruning and maintenance for your tree is an investment that can enhance your quality of life.

bad tree pruning

Tree Care Inc. Provides Expert Tree Pruning

Now that you know the effects of bad tree pruning, you realize you should only hire the most qualified people for the job. Whether your tree is dying or you’re looking to maintain its health with regular pruning, Tree Care Inc. can help. Our certified arborists and tree experts use their wealth of knowledge and experience to produce the best results for your tree.

You can request a free estimate by filling out our online form. If you prefer to talk to a team member, call (502) 326-3661.


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