Signs Your Tree Needs Pruning

Not to Ignore During Any Season


While the fall isn’t the best time to prune trees, there are certain signs your tree needs pruning that you shouldn’t ignore. If you notice any of these, you may not want to wait a few more months until the tree goes dormant in the winter. You can always contact an arborist before you get the trimmers out, but at least you’ll know what to look for.

Signs Your Tree Needs Pruning

Tree maintenance is an ongoing process. The best time to do any major tree work is during the dormant winter or early spring. However, there are certain signs that your tree may need more immediate attention. These are the instances when your tree becomes more of a hazard, and pruning could help prevent any further damage. As the leaves start to fall, inspect your trees for any of the following signs.

  1. Broken Branches. Whether the branch is bowing or hanging on by a splinter, it’s in a weakened state and should be pruned as soon as possible. Pay extra attention before and after a bad storm to make sure there’s nothing that looks too unstable.
  2. Dead/Diseased Limbs. Signs a limb is sick range from spots and cracks on the actual branch to a lack of leaves. Pruning these branches not only helps to save you and your property from damage, but it can also prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of the tree.
  3. Weak Branches. A branch doesn’t have to be broken or diseased to be weak. If the tree is overcrowded with branches and they cross every which way, you’ll have some weaker ones that aren’t receiving enough light or nutrients. These branches can bow and snap easily. They’re more prone to break in the future, thus, should be taken care of now.
  4. Branches Close to Utility Lines. Don’t let your tree become the reason your street loses power. One broken branch in a rainstorm can cause a lot of issues if it hits a live wire or transformer box. Any tree work around a power source needs to be done by a professional.
  5. Storm Damage. No tree is immune to powerful winds, rain, snow, or ice. Even a healthy tree can be quickly uprooted by a tornado. Ice may look pretty, but not when it bends branches to the point of breaking.

With regular maintenance, you can help keep your trees strong and able to bounce back from damage or a storm. But you still want to carefully inspect for splintered or broken limbs to prune.

Signs of a Healthy Tree

Now that we’ve covered what you don’t want to see, here are some good signs.

  • If you can see through in between the branches of the tree, it’s not too dense or overcrowded. Light and air need to circulate throughout the crown for healthy growth and even weight distribution.
  • Straight branches. Branches that touch each other as they cross are more prone to decay. When each branch grows away from each other, it’s more stable and healthy.
  • Lush, green leaves that only turn color and fall in autumn. Obviously.

Even when your tree is showing nothing but good signs, it doesn’t mean it’s immune to damage. Storms and other unforeseen accidents happen. There’s only so much you can do to help protect your tree. Proper pruning is one of those things. To make the most of your time and energy, consider hiring a professional to get the job done right.

Professional Pruning

If you do have to prune a branch, make sure it’s one you can reach. If you have to get on a ladder with the pruning shears, stop. Put the shears down. Call a professional. Tree pruning is a delicate process, especially this time of year. The wrong cut could mean damage to yourself, your tree, and your surroundings. It’s best to call a tree service when you need to work on a large tree, one that’s close to another structure, or one that’s in the proximity of power lines. Contact Elite Tree Care for all of your tree needs. We can help diagnose any signs of damage or disease and help you plan for the tree’s future.

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.