Your garden is your sanctuary and a place to unwind from the stresses of daily life and take solace in the tranquillity of nature. No mobile phones allowed. Only you, your tools, maybe some sunblock and a hat.
As winter draws to a close, it’s time to do some pruning. So put on your scrubs and get ready for a little bit of tree surgery.
The best time to prune is at the end of winter before the strong growth of spring. Those pesky insects are still asleep, and pruning while they’re dormant will help prevent an invasion of tiny creepy crawlies into the fresh tree wounds.
Besides visually rejuvenating your garden, pruning is essential for other reasons. Creeping branches can be a literal eyesore to passers-by, and nobody likes the top of their car scratched up by a wayward tree limb.
Get Your Tools Ready
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to gather the tools you’re going to need for the job. You don’t want to spend hours struggling with small, ineffective hand pruners. You’re performing tree surgery here, so prepare yourself as a surgeon would.
Get yourself a quality pair of hand pruners for those thin branches, and some loppers for slightly larger ones. Make sure they’re not rusted over and sharp enough to do what they need to.
Make sure to have a step stool handy, and possibly even a ladder if you’re planning on pruning skyward.
If you’re not so sure-footed, a pole saw will become your best friend. These ingenious devices allow you to reach those nasty, hard to reach branches looming down from above.
To take care of those extra thick branches, purchase a quality hand saw and if this is too much for you to do yourself maybe enlisting some help would be a good idea. You must be strong enough to hold the branch whilst cutting and be safe while any big branches fall.
To Chainsaw or Not to Chainsaw?
Sometimes, your hand and arm strength just aren’t going to cut it. That’s when it’s time to call in the big guns. Chainsaws will take care of the most intimidating branches and limbs, but safety is of course paramount when handling power tools.
If you don’t feel comfortable using a chainsaw, it’s probably a good idea to call in some professionals. There is no shame in hiring out. The removal of large trees can be very dangerous. They’ll arrive with a trained crew, proper safety equipment, and will even clean up when they’re finished.
Pruning Tips and Tricks
The younger a tree, the more aggressive you can prune. Older trees have less energy resources to stop decay or invasions from pests.
For branches 2 centimetres and above in diameter, trim down with multiple cuts, starting from the outside of the branch.
A tree recovers more quickly from small multiple wounds than one large one.
Invite a friend of two and make your pruning day a social event. Get the BBQ going and serve plenty of food and drinks!