When pruning, think of it as a rejuvenation process as the pruning of dead, diseased or broken branches can help invigorate the tree so more nutrients can make it to where they are needed. Removal of diseased branches can also help prevent the further spread of disease, but when you prune is critical.

Pruning at different seasons can trigger different responses. Late winter or early spring are the best time to prune most species. However, pruning of most spring blooming shrubs such as lilacs should be delayed until immediately after flowering to avoid reduced floral displays. Pruning of small branches can occur anytime of the year. With larger branches late winter or early spring is the best practice. It is often necessary to prune trees when they are fully leafed out, in order to see where and how much to cut. But some exceptions are elms and crabapples which should be pruned in winter to abate disease spread.

When pruning make sure to have proper tools and in good working condition. Hand saws, hand pruners, and loppers are the most common household tools. First step to proper pruning is that angle at which you are cutting the branch. Below is a figure to show the proper pruning angle.

When pruning larger branches make sure to cut the branch in three sections. If only one cut is made at the collar, then stripping of the bark along the trunk can occur and lead to disease. Below is a diagram as how to properly utilize a three-cut process in order to have a nice cut along the collar.

Also, when pruning a diseased tree make sure to properly disinfect equipment to ensure transmission of disease does not occur to other trees. Also, it is important to prune overlapping or rubbing branches. As well as any branches that are overhanging on sidewalks or streets where they could be deemed as hazards.

If branches are not diseased local companies will take cuttings for recycling. As part of South Suburban Parks & Recreation, Lone Tree residents can drop off cuttings at the Willow Spring open space location at 7100 S. Holly St., Centennial.

To find local arborists, click here.