Remove the 3 D’s from your trees; learn what, when, and how to prune

screen shot from National Arbor Day Foundation website
This is a screen shot from a National Arbor Day Foundation web animation explaining how to prune trees properly and when.

Are your trees looking straggly, growing and spreading out aimlessly? Before you prune a tree, be sure you pruning at the right time of year.

A recent blog from the National Association of State Foresters says that trees are dormant through early March. This is true in some cases, but it’s important to check for the appropriate time of year to prune the specific type of tree you own.

Meanwhile, now is a good time to remove those dead, diseased, and damaged branches (the 3 D’s). These problem branches can cost more money and cause more maintenance headaches if not cared for right away. You also may want to remove branches that cross and rub against each other when the appropriate time comes to prune that tree. Whatever you do, prune no more than 25 percent of your tree’s canopy in any one year.

What are we talking about specifically? DNR recommends two resources to help you decide what to prune, when to prune, and how to prune: 

If you have a tree that can be pruned now, the wound from pruning will rapidly close just before new growth emerges. Also, prune trees while they’re young to help avoid expensive tree care later.

See what other resources DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program has to offer.

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