Garden Action

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Pruning Large Branches

Secateurs and loppers can handle most branches up to 25mm diameter.  There comes a time in the life of a garden tree when, for a number of reasons, a branch must be removed.  We are going to cause some damage the tree and our aim must be to make the wound as small as possible to reduce the possibility of infection, rot and dieback, threatening the life of the tree.

You will need a pruning saw and a sharp knife.

Branch Collar The best site for removing a branch is the collar, where it grows from the tree.  A wound at this point will be as small as possible.  It will heal and close over quickly.

Prunning first cut Make the first cut on the underside about 75mm from the collar. Saw about a third or halfway through.

Prunning second cut Take the second from the top of the branch about 50mm from the collar.

Branch break The branch breaks without tearing the bark.

Trim off the stump Trim off the remaining stump at the collar.  Use a sharp knife to trim any loose bark. Avoid leaving a ‘coat-hanger’ which eventually dies back, rots and leaves a hole that allows water to collect.

Wound close over By the next year you should see the tree thicken at the site of the branch. The wound will close over and be eventually buried in new wood.