Saturday was such a beautiful day here in Indiana, at least in my part. In the late morning I found myself outside to prune some of my trees. I took some before and after pictures to show. I know quite a bit about flowers and not so much about trees so I have traded favors with my friend, Sharon, who is an arborist. She is teaching me about trees and I am….well it’s a little lopsided right now. She taught me how to cut branches just where the bark changes between the trunk and the branch. If I did it right, then the part that was cut should get a rounded edge that looks like a doughnut around it. I will have to wait and see if I have doughnuts next summer. Who knew you could grow them in the yard!
The first tree I pruned was the magnolia that Sharon gave me for being a good friend. It’s hard to see the leaves on it, but the base looks more like a bush than a tree. I cut all the branches off below the main branches so that what was left looked more like a tree with a trunk and some larger main branches. I also have some closeups of the cuts I made. They were done with a handsaw and look very rough to me and some were awkward to get to, but I will know next year if I made them correctly.
My next victim was a weeping cherry. Everyone in my area chops off the long branches and leaves everything on the top so that all the weeping cherry trees end up looking like umbrellas. If I buy a tree that is called “weeping” anything then I would like it to “weep”. A little history on this tree: When I first got this tree from The National Arbor Day Society, it was a bareroot twig. Back in those days I wasn’t very prompt about planting things, whether flowers or trees. I ended up planting a stick that everyone thought was dead. I knew though that it couldn’t be dead. I really wanted a weeping cherry and it had to live so I left it in the ground for two years before it grew any sprouts. When I saw the first green buds on my little tree I felt vindicated because I knew my family was laughing behind my back and thinking it would never grow! So, a few pruning mistakes and many years later, I now have a beautiful “weeping” cherry tree.
Beautiful may be a bit of an exaggeration, but she is certainly unique and beautiful to me, especially since even I thought she wouldn’t make it for a while. Those are the Before & After pictures. I just like to thin her out so she looks more airy. The top branches are getting a bit difficult to get to now that she’s tall and I’m still short and ladders scare me.
The next tree was easy, much closer to the ground.
It was a 10 year old pear tree. I don’t know what kind. It never got pears, just nasty 2 inch long spike-like thorns. I probably need another pear tree in order to get fruit. A windstorm a couple years ago broke the whole thing off and all these shoots kept growing up where the trunk used to be. I just hadn’t gotten around to chopping them again this spring and trying to discourage their growth without poisoning it. Well, Sharon to the rescue. She told me that I could grow another tree by saving just two of the sprouts and keeping everything else trimmed back. It’s worth a shot to me because I hate for anything to die that can be saved. GO PEAR TREE!!!
I only have Before & During shots of the next two trees because I need the man to get his chainsaw out. There was no way that I was going to finish them with my dull little handsaw.
Those don’t look very different to me, but I forgot to take the before picture. I did trim a bunch of sprouts from around the base of this redbud tree. There are a couple of dead branches that need to go (with the help of a chainsaw).
I am obviously not very good at capturing details in my photos, but half of this apple tree was broken off in the aforementioned storm and now it is full of watersprouts. Sharon also told me about watersprouts. They are branches that grow straight up either out of the trunk or off of other branches. They never mature into woody branches and drain energy from the rest of the tree so they need to be cut off. I cut off several of them, but it also had some other branches that needed pruning (with a chainsaw). He doesn’t read my blog so I don’t think all these hints about the chainsaw will help, but I feel better.
Sharon also told me about treating my apple trees for blackspot. You’ve seen apples that are deformed and have rough brown spots all over them. Well, it’s caused by blackspot. Sound familiar? They get it from roses! Next year I should have pretty, edible apples! Yum!
I think it probably took less time to do the work than to write this post. I hope it’s not too long and boring.
Happy Tree Pruning!