Effective Tips for Pruning Elm Trees
Elm trees are a beautiful addition to any Florida landscape. They give a fantastic look to your backyard, are tolerant of air pollution, and provide a lovely shade for the entire area. For this reason, pruning elm trees is an essential part of maintaining health and aesthetics of elm trees.
Like all trees, elm trees require maintenance to thrive as they get easily infected by diseases and insects. Pruning is the removal of dead and decaying parts of the tree. But it must be done correctly to avoid damaging the tree.
Here Are 10 Tips on Trimming Elm Trees in Florida
Prune During the Winter or in Early Spring
Experts suggest that the best time to prune elm trees in Florida is during the winter or early spring when the tree is dormant and has no leaves. When no leaves are present on the branches, trimming or pruning the tree becomes easy. Pruning in the winter also minimizes stress on the tree and reduces the risk of disease.
Use Sharp and Clean Tools
Another helpful tip on pruning elm trees is to use sharp and clean pruning tools. Sharp pruning tools provide clean cuts that heal rapidly, reducing future issues. Pruning requires clean tools as well.
When you’ve finished with one tree or shrub, take a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a rag and wipe the cutting surfaces of your pruning tools. That will take little time and might save your orchard or garden from tragedies like decay and infestations.
Remove Dead, Diseased, or Damaged Branches
Like we need to scrub dead skin away from our bodies, elm trees also require special care. Removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches should be a priority. The branches with any type of infection or harmful insects can spread diseases to the rest of the tree if not removed on time.
Use the Three-Cut Method
For larger branches, the three-cut method can be used to avoid damaging the tree, reducing the branches’ weight, and making a proper cut. The procedure is simple- Make the first cut underneath the branch, a few inches from the trunk. Make the second cut on the branch’s top, a few inches out.
The branch will then fall away from the tree, leaving a stub. Make the final cut just outside the branch collar, which is the swollen area where the branch meets the trunk.
Avoid Removing More Than 25% of the Canopy
A beautiful canopy not only makes an elm tree look lofty and green but also protects the tree from harm. Removing too much of the canopy can stress the tree and make it more susceptible to disease.
Avoid Pruning Near the Trunk
Pruning too close to the trunk can damage the elm tree and leave it vulnerable to diseases. An incorrect cut, such as a flush cut (cutting too near the trunk) or a stub cut (cutting too far from the trunk), can result in irrevocable tree damage. A flush cut eliminates the branch collar, leaving a massive gash on the tree’s side that will not heal correctly.
Don’t Top the Tree
Topping or removing the top of the elm tree is harmful and can lead to the tree’s death. The exposed wood tissues start to rot.
Typically, a tree would “wall off” or compartmentalize decaying tissues, but few trees can protect themselves against the many severe wounds created by topping. Topping an elm tree also ruins the tree’s natural shape.
Use Pruning Sealant Sparingly
Pruning sealant can slow healing and is only necessary for large cuts or wounds. Pruning sealants often contain petroleum jelly and other chemicals which may hamper tree growth. Use it sparingly and only on clean cuts if there is a necessity.
Hire a Professional For Dangerous Jobs
We always say this, if the job requires climbing or using power tools, it’s best to hire a professional to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the tree. Always consult expert advice if you need assistance with trimming, pruning, or other tree services. Tree trimmers have the necessary expertise to handle dangerous tasks and professional tools.
Consider the Tree’s Natural Shape
When pruning, consider the tree’s natural shape and try to maintain it. Elm trees have a vase shape, with several branches radiating from the trunk. Prune to enhance this shape rather than altering it.
In conclusion, pruning is essential to maintaining the health and aesthetics of elm trees. Follow these 10 tips to ensure that pruning is done correctly and safely to maintain and boost your tree’s health.