What’s an evergreen? Most evergreen trees fall under the name of conifers, or cone bearing trees. Their needles, or leaves, vary in length from under an inch to several inches. Although most evergreens shed needles, they don’t loose them all at exactly the exact same time.
Generally , conifers don’t require much pruning for training purposes, such as fruit trees or other ornamental trees. Evergreens generally have a lead branch which extends from the back to the peak of the tree, along with different branches coming from the lead. In case you have a young tree with two lead branches prune out the next lead while the tree is as young as possible to permit the tree to form properly. In more mature trees pruning out a large secondary lead will do more harm aesthetically than great.
There are two primary varieties of conifers, the whorled and the arbitrary branching. The whorled branch tree has branches in miniature groups that ring the tree. These include pines, spruces and firs. The second kind is the arbitrary branching shrub, yew, cedar and juniper to mention a couple, they develop in what you may consider the more conventional fuller Christmas tree shape.
Do I want to prune my evergreen?
Evergreens usually only require pruning when the tree has dead or dying branches or if the tree is diseased or contaminated. You want to cut dead or dying branches after you discover a problem. Prune them back to the first section of healthy wood. For infected or diseased trees it’s necessary to trim the affected regions all of the way back to the back. Be sure to disinfect your tools between every cut, so you don’t spread any disease. Don’t use house hold products that contain bleach. Try “Lysol” or rubbing alcohol. How do I prune my evergreen?
When trimming back evergreens make certain to cut just in the fields of the branch which have needles. If you eliminate all of the needles from the branch which division will become dormant and then perish.
When removing a limb from the tree, do not cut flush with the back this can cause several issues that will affect the whole tree. There’s an enlarged knob in which the limb and trunk meet, this is known as the collar, prune the branch in which it matches the collar. Whether trimming a live branch or eliminating a dead one, make certain not to cut beyond the collar. Leaving the collar on the back will protect against decay and encourage a healthy tree.
When cutting a large or thick branch, use the three cut method.
- At 12 inches from the back, cutting from the bottom up, cut half way through the branch.
- About an inch beyond the first cut, towards the tip of the branch, trim the branch thoroughly.
- Make the last cut just above the collar.
Cutting the branch this way will help keep the weight of the tree from ripping the limb in the tree and causing harm.
Should I coat the finished pruning cuts?
NO! Only use some sort of coating when controlling particular problematic insects. (Check with your local school agriculture department or with the local forest service station fore more details on disease carrying pest, blights or disorders in your are)
NOTE: If you would like a fuller fuller tree, particularly on pines and other similar trees, then pinch the new growth in half with your palms to prevent damaging the surrounding needles. When is the best time to prune? snow on evergreen branches
When is the Best Time to Prune?
It’s a lot easier to let you know when to not prune. Don’t prune in late summer or early autumn. This will encourage growth and the young branches won’t mature enough to endure the cold winter.
Most other pruning which will occur on an evergreen is cosmetic or aesthetic. If you are attempting to control the over all height of the tree, prune in the summertime, if you are attempting to promote expansion prune in the spring, if you’re pruning because of disease or damage then prune immediately regardless of the time of year. Winter pruning, while the tree is dormant, is desirable if you want to encourage beautiful spring development.
Evergreens don’t have to be pruned unless there’s a physical problem with the tree because of damage, death, decay or disease. Prune evergreens to keep them healthy and beautiful.
- Less is more when trimming an evergreen. You could always take a bit more off later. If you take too far off today you might damage the branch or the whole tree.
- Consult your local nursery, faculty or the Forest Service for great regional tips and information.
- Make certain to keep your pruning blades sharp and clean, whether using shears or a saw blade.