Can You Kill a Tree by Over-Pruning? Essential Advice for Morganton, NC, Residents

Regular pruning can improve the health of your trees and the beauty of your yard. But what happens if you remove too much foliage? Can you kill a tree by over-pruning it? 

In this post, expert arborists at the premier tree service in Morganton answer this question and discuss the dangers of improper pruning.

Benefits of Pruning

A proper pruning program is essential to tree health care and property maintenance. Specifically, pruning has the following advantages: 

  • Improves tree structure — Pruning allows you to remove misshapen or overgrown branches for greater aesthetic appeal.
  • Boosts tree health — Cutting away diseased limbs prevents the spread of pests or fungus to other parts of the tree.
  • Encourages new growth — The correct pruning cuts can encourage new growth patterns and thicker foliage. 
  • Enhances safety — Removing dead or broken branches lowers the chances of limbs falling on people or property.

Dangers of Pruning

Now that you know that a little pruning is good, you may wonder about the dangers of over-pruning. What happens if you cut too much or too often? Can you kill a tree by over-pruning it?

The following are some of the dangers of pruning:

Cutting Too Much

While you may hope to save money by pruning more heavily and less often, you can seriously damage the tree. Over-pruning can lead to nutritional deficiencies, excessive sun exposure, and weakness, making trees more vulnerable to storms, diseases, and pests.

Pruning Incorrectly

Not using the right pruning methods can also harm trees. Flush cuts too close to the trunk can damage the branch collar and destroy the tree’s natural healing mechanism. Stub cuts, on the other hand, don’t cut close enough to the branch collar, which also impedes the tree’s ability to recover. Finally, “topping” the tree by chopping off the top is also detrimental, permanently disfiguring it and sometimes killing it.

Pruning at the Wrong Time

When it comes to pruning, timing makes all the difference. The right time varies by the type of tree, your climate, and whether you are cutting healthy growth or dead branches. Pruning at the wrong time can reduce flowering, introduce pests and diseases, stress the tree needlessly, and perhaps even kill it.

Pruning at the Wrong Frequency

The frequency of pruning changes as a tree ages. After planting a tree, you only need to prune lightly in year two or three for good structure. Between years four and 10, remove damaged branches and reduce extra leaders every three years. After age 10, you only need to prune every five years.

Trust the Pruning Experts at Limbwalkers Tree & Crane Service

The answer to the question, “Can you kill a tree by over-pruning it?” is yes. Unless you know what you are doing, pruning can disfigure, weaken, and even kill a tree. For help pruning your trees correctly, trust the certified arborists at Limbwalkers Tree & Crane Service in Morganton, NC.

Our professional tree pruning service will keep your trees lush and healthy while enhancing property value. Contact us at 828-413-7227 to set up a tree pruning appointment today.

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