Carefully Pruning Mature Trees

Respect Your Elder Elms and More


Tree maintenance is important at any stage of its life, but pruning mature trees takes extra care to ensure its continued health.

What’s a Mature Tree

Trees that have reached a certain age or size for its species are considered mature. If you have a tree that can reach up to 80 feet high and usually lives for 100 years, it enters maturity at around 60 feet high and 70 years old. Just like people of the same age, mature trees recover from injury and illness at a slower rate. Therefore, extra care is needed to ensure they’re not put through substantial stress.

While young trees use most of their energy to grow, mature trees use it to maintain health. Pruning too much of a mature tree causes it to refocus its energy to grow back what was lost, lowering its defenses, and leaving it susceptible to decay.

Pruning Mature Trees

As a tree grows, it still requires regular attention and maintenance. However, a mature tree should only be pruned if:

  • Branches are broken, dead, dying, or diseased.
  • Lower branches obscure visibility or become hazardous.
  • Branches hit utility wires.
  • It poses a threat to people or nearby buildings.

Even in these cases, any pruning of a mature tree should be done by a qualified professional to ensure it’s done correctly with minimal harm to the tree.

Here are some other mature tree pruning tips:

  • Like most trees, the best time to prune is in winter when it’s dormant.
  • Keep pruning cuts as small as possible.
  • Don’t remove more than 30 percent of the tree’s leaves at any time.
  • Remove all dead wood first.
  • Distribute cuts evenly. Step back and make sure you haven’t taken too much from only one area.
  • Don’t climb a tree to prune it. Leave any work you can’t reach from the ground for professionals.

If you plant a healthy tree and continue to maintain its health, you’ll reduce the amount of pruning for mature trees. Contact Elite Tree Care for more tips and to schedule any mature tree pruning needs.

Tree Pruning Guide

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Learn how, when, and how much to trim or prune your trees to maximize their health and beauty. This guide covers the factors that go into tree trimming (pruning) and will help you make a more informed decision about hiring a professional tree service.