How Do You Shape A Tree?

Indisputably, growing a tree consumes a lot of time and effort. You need to take good care of the tree from its early stages.

And as the tree grows, it often requires constant trimming to keep it in perfect shape.

Tree trimming helps you keep the tree level and eliminate any diseased branches in the tree.

Even so, it would be best if you had the right equipment to shape a tree correctly.

Following the correct procedure will help you prevent damage when shaping the tree.

How to do proper tree shaping

Before shaping a tree, you have to analyze the tree’s condition. More often than not, if you take good care of trees in their early stages, they will need minor trimming in the late stages.

Evaluating the tree’s condition will help you determine the correct technique for trimming. For example, a well-groomed tree will need light trimming.

On the other hand, if the tree has diseased or weak branches, you might have to level all the branches.

Nevertheless, experts advise cutting not more than a third of long branches when shaping a tree.

If you trim more than a third of the branch, you will tamper with the entire tree’s health. Cutting correctly helps the tree grow healthier and more robust.

Tree shaping will also strengthen smaller trees that receive low levels of sunlight. When shaping a tree, use the right equipment.

Also, disinfect the equipment using alcohol when moving from one tree to another. Doing this helps prevent the spread of pathogens from one tree to another.

Also, note that shaping trees is not a walk in the park. Often, you would need the help of a professional.

How do you shape a small tree?

Unlike large trees, small trees are easier to shape. Thus, you can always conduct a DIY project when shaping a small tree.

Below are the steps to follow if you plan to shape a small tree.

Step one:

The first step would be to determine how much you want to trim. Gardening experts recommend cutting approximately 20 -25% of a tree’s canopy. So, decide on the exact percentage based on the tree’s condition.

Step two:

Then, proceed with trimming the tree. Start by removing all the dead and diseased branches or twigs. Then, remove all the growth sprouting from the roots. Identify all weak branches and get rid of them. Doing this helps your plant grow healthier and more robust.

Common mistakes to avoid when shaping a tree 

As seen earlier, experts do not recommend DIY trimming. Remember, one mistake when trimming a tree can damage the entire tree.

Typically, if you over-trim the tree, it tends to lose a bigger percentage of its canopy. In turn, it becomes weak and dies in the long run.

Another mistake you should avoid when trimming a small tree is cutting the branch collar. When shaping a tree, ensure the branch collar remains untouched.

The branch collar will help the tree heal quickly after pruning. If you injure the branch collar, you expose it to fungi that can spread to the rest of the tree. And this can lead to the decaying of the whole tree.

The next mistake you should avoid is cutting the top of the tree. When you trim the top of the tree, it affects the entire tree’s health. In turn, you end up losing the whole tree.

Additionally, avoid heavy pruning branches. Thick branches can put too much strain on your garden shears and can make you lose your balance.

When this happens while you are standing on a ladder, you might end up injuring yourself.

Hire a tree expert to remove the thicker branches for you, especially if you have minimal experience in cutting trees.

How do you trim tree branches?

Branches are one of the tree parts you ought to remove when trimming. At times, branches may be dead or diseased.

So, you’ll have to remove them. Let’s take a look at how to trim tree branches.

Removing the whole tree branch 

When it comes to getting rid of the entire tree branch, you need to have the right trimming equipment. Then, cut as close to the branch collar.

In case you are wondering, the branch collar is the swollen section where the branch limb connects with the main trunk.

Note that you should cut close to the branch collar; so, leave it untouched. Otherwise, you might end up damaging the entire tree.

A proper pruning cut often heals faster. It will help if you are dealing with thicker branches if you avoid tearing the bark using a pruning saw.

Three-cut tree branch removal

When using the three-cut tree branch removal technique, use a pruning saw to do the following:

  • Use the pruning saw to get rid of the section at the lower part of the limb, slightly above the trunk. Cut only a quarter of the limb.
  • Then, move an inch below the first cut and use a pruning saw to cut the area. In most instances, the branch would snap off before you finish the cut.
  • Finish the three-cut branch by moving towards the remaining section (it is often located slightly past the swollen branch collar). Ensure you obtain a clean cut and avoid tampering with the branch collar.

When trimming your branches, also get rid of suckers and water sprouts. Doing this will help your tree grow healthier.

Note that mature trees do not need constant pruning like growing trees. You’ll only need to trim them occasionally to keep them level and in perfect shape.

Also, never reduce the tree’s size by cutting the top of its canopy. Otherwise, the tree would be susceptible to pests/ diseases, and it would look less appealing.

When is the best time to prune your tree?

Although pruning is essential, it might damage the tree when done at the wrong time. Gardeners need to know the best time to prune their trees.

Avoid pruning during fall or early winter. Doing this might hinder the tree’s flower production. The best time for pruning is usually after the plant starts flowering.

How do you shape a shrub tree?

Did you know you can create a centerpiece for your garden by turning your shrub into a tree?

All you need to do is use a simple technique and the right equipment to transform your shrub into a tree.

If you are planning to create a shrub tree, note that the best shrubs to use are those that don’t have many shoots coming from the roots. Examples of such shrubs include magnolia and lilac.

Additionally, keep in mind that smaller plants are simpler to work with. Creating shrub trees needs a lot of patience since it can take years.

Always start with a plant that is one year old. Then place it in a container. It would be best to select the most upright stem before planting.

Once you complete planting, get rid of a third of the bottom branches. Place a strong shake next to the main stem to provide firm support. If you have a tree with many trunks, put one stake for each stem.

Then, secure the stem by tying it to the support. Remove any tiny sprouts that form along the trunk as the shrub continues to grow.

Spare some time to get rid of the lower branches during spring. Do this continually every spring season until the tree gets to a certain height.

Then, reduce the canopy and leave five to three branches depending on the tree’s condition.

Pruning shrubs

Your shrubs will need pruning if they are taller than usual. In such a case, the first thing to do would be to examine the plant branches.

From there, you can see the branches supporting the weak twigs. Then, you can cut them deep inside the plant.

As you do this, you’ll be able to see the branches that support healthy twigs. Thus, you’ll know what is needed for healthy tree growth.

Once you prune shrubs, there won’t be any blunt cut ends. Pruning shrubs fosters healthy and abundant growth of shrubs.

Like trees, shrubs have a longer lifespan. Maintaining them correctly will enable you to get the most out of them.

Pruning Small Flowering Trees

Young trees only need light pruning. Remember, they are young and still need many nutrients to grow. Also, immature trees still need to have many leaves to produce food that helps in root growth.

It would be best to focus on dead branches, twigs, and stems when shaping young trees. Additionally, if branches rub against each other, you can remove them.

Avoid cutting the branch collar of young trees. Otherwise, you put the tree at risk of getting fungal infections, among other diseases.

Shape that tree today

Shaping a tree is vital for its growth. However, it would be best to use the proper technique and gardening equipment.

When it comes to shaping young trees, focus on dead and diseased branches. As they grow, you can cut not more than 25% of the tree’s canopy.

All in all, analyze your tree’s condition before you decide to prune it and ensure you get the right shears.

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