How Much is Too Much
February 14, 2019
We all want to keep our plants healthy and thriving, so we water, mulch, and prune, but sometimes we can get a little carried away. Tree trimming is an important part of maintenance, but removing too much can hurt your poor plants. Know when to say when, because your plant won’t tell you until it’s too late—and it dies.
Perfect Tree Trimming Percentage
There’s a rule many professionals trim by: prune only ⅓ of the good wood. Less than that won’t accomplish much, and more than that can stunt its growth or worse.
Pruning is supposed to stimulate growth, but when the plant loses too many branches—especially at the top—it can expose it to sunscald, starve it of nutrients it gets from leaves, and force it into shock by trying to overcompensate for its loss. Regrowth should be a more delicate balance. This is why the ⅓ rule applies to established shrubs and small trees that are fully rooted. The rule is limited to ¼ of large tree branches, since they don’t have as many stems as shrubs.
Routine Tree Trimming
Regular tree trimming is preferred, but if you skip a few seasons and branches start to break or become unruly, you’ll need to do more work. Dead or diseased branches should always be trimmed, no matter what season it is. The next to go are any crossing branches where the bark is rubbing.
For most plants, late winter or early spring is the best time to trim. The plants are still dormant but are getting ready to produce new growth. If you’re unsure of how much to trim your trees and shrubs, contact Elite Tree Care for more information.
Download Your FREE Tree Pruning Guide
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.