Prune trees when they are young to minimize structural
problems and to minimize the need to remove large limbs later,
which could result in large wounds that can provide entry
sites for decay and disease organisms. Remove branches that
cross, are attached to the trunk at a sharp angle, or that
compete with the main leader. Remove diseased limbs and consider
pruning out pests confined to a small portion of the plant.
Pruning can help increase air circulation, which reduces
the incidence of certain diseases. Do not overprune so as
not to cause unnecessary wounds or promote sunburn.
Heading and thinning are the two primary types of pruning
cuts; heading removes a branch to a stub, a bud, or a small
branch; a thinning cut removes a branch at its point of attachment.
Heading cuts stimulate new growth from buds just below the
cut. The resulting foliage and shoots are often dense. Thinning
cuts promote more evenly distributed growth throughout the
plant and are stronger and retain more of the plant's natural
shape. Avoid topping trees, which is the drastic heading
of large branches in mature trees. Topping encourages the
growth of branches weakly attached below the cut, which become
susceptible to wind breakage.
tree; growth of weak branches