Tree trimming can help trees maintain an attractive form while also ensuring those below are safe from dropping dead branches. Unfortunately, trimming improperly can also leave a tree open to disease or pest problems. The answer isn't to stop pruning, but instead to follow protocols that limit the chances of disease and pests. The following guide can help you make healthy pruning choices so your trees don't suffer health issues.
Prune in the right season
Pruning in the right season is the single best thing you can do to prevent problems with a tree. A tree needs to be in a growth cycle so it can heal quickly over any pruning wounds before insects or disease pathogens infest the area. For most trees, the growth cycle is during late winter through early summer when buds are swelling and branch tips are elongating. Try to prune as early in the growth cycle as possible, typically late winter when you first notice the buds begin to swell. This way the tree can heal the wounds when it is still too cold for most insects and disease pathogens to be active.
Keep your tools sterile
A common cause of the spread of health issues is the tools you use to prune. Insect eggs and disease pathogens can stick to your pruning shears or saw. Then, when you go to prune the next tree, you are spreading these pathogens directly into a fresh wound. Even if a tree seems healthy, take a moment to sterilize your tools before moving to the next tree. If you suspect a tree may be infested with a problem, sterilize after every cut. A diluted bleach solution is the best method. Either dip the tool in a bucket with the solution between cuts or trees, or wipe the tools with a rag soaked in the solution.
Clean up branch litter
Fungal spores, bacterial pathogens, and insects can survive for quite some time in the little branches and leaves that collect on the ground as you prune. They can then make their way into the tree or into a neighboring tree as the weather warms. After you are done pruning, rake up all the branch and leaf litter that collects. Either dispose of it or compost it in a hot compost pile so any potential pathogens are destroyed.
As you can see, preventing the spread of issues as you prune doesn't take much more time and effort. For more help, contact a tree trimming service in your area.