How To Tell If a Tree Is Pruned Too Much

Trees need pruning at times. Pruning is used with trees to maintain their health and shape, remove dead wood, reduce certain risks (like falling branches), remove hazards (like crossing branches that could fall), or increase their aesthetic value.

If you have a tree that needs to be removed or pruned, Mercados Landscaping has tree removal experts in Philadelphia, PA, that can help you. Tree trimming and pruning are important to have a strong, healthy tree. However, it is possible to remove too much from a tree. 

The results of excessive pruning can be detrimental to the health of your trees. An excessive pruning cut may cause pests and disease in the tree. Read on to learn what over-pruning is, why it is harmful, and how to stop these mistakes.

What Is Over-Pruning?

Over-pruning is the most common mistake made by people who prune trees, and it causes long-term damage. A tree pruned too much will appear to be thinning out and losing leaves, branches, and have low overall plant health. 

In the short term, over-pruning will accelerate the process of decline in a tree’s health. It creates large wounds that can be invaded by insects and plant pathogens.

In the long term, excessive pruning can lead to a tree’s decline and death.

Why Is Over-Pruning Harmful?

A tree pruned too much can be classified as an example of poor landscape maintenance practices. The phenomenon typically occurs in early spring when property owners try to maintain their trees themselves or hire an inexperienced business to perform the pruning.

Here are some problems that can occur from trees that have been over-pruned:

Wounds on Tree Trunks

Tree wounds (cuts or nicks in tree bark) can be left by tools such as saws, axes, and lawnmowers. These wounds provide an entry point for disease or insects.

Leaning or Crooked Growth

Leaning or crooked trees happen when pruning occurs in the upper parts of the tree, leaving only roots and lower trunk to support its weight. This can be caused by removing more than 1/3 of a tree’s canopy in one year, which causes it to lose its stability. If this lean becomes too extreme, it can cause injury or death.

Deadwood Removal

Homeowners often remove deadwood to improve the overall look of their trees. However, when deadwood removal exceeds 30 percent of a tree’s canopy in one year, it may have serious consequences on how well the rest of its canopy grows or stays healthy. This practice disrupts the tree’s natural defense mechanism and exposes it to an increased risk of injury or death.

How Can You Tell if a Tree Is Over-Pruned?

If you notice that your tree looks like the ones from this article, it may have been over-pruned. Symptoms include:

  • An increase in deadwood or presence of branches with abnormally long internodes (the length of the stem between its leaf nodes).
  • The appearance of any dead tree branch due to disease or infestation by insects such as borers and wood borers.
  • Loss of leaves, branch dieback, and thinning canopy growth
  • Leaning or crooked growth.

Avoid These Common Pruning Mistakes with Mercados Landscaping

Mercados Landscaping offers various landscaping services ranging from complete design and installation to maintenance, including pruning. We also give tips here on our website, including tree care tips for winter.

To learn more about how to prune trees or have a tree that has been excessively pruned removed, contact Mercados Landscaping today! We are committed to providing reliable landscape services throughout the Philadelphia, PA, area. 

Call us today or fill out our form on our website for a free no-obligation quote.

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