What Does It Cost if You Don’t Prune Your Trees and Shrubs Correctly?

— Written By

Pruning and training of woody landscape growth is a continuous process during the year but the main season for pruning your trees and shrubs is quickly approaching. If you ignore pruning needs or don’t prune correctly it will probably cost you a pretty penny – in some cases several thousands of dollars. Let’s look at a few problems that we see during the year that could have been avoided with proper pruning and training:

Problem – the homeowner has four large willow oaks in the front yard of the property. The trees have become excessively large with looming branches over the house. Now a tree service is going to charge over $1500 to dramatically trim back the trees.

Solution – training of large trees at an early stage can help guide growth to avoid hazards such as co-dominant main stems, included bark, or weak branch attachment. Early training and pruning means a smaller job and a smaller bill.

Problem – unfortunately that ‘tree service’ was not a certified tree care professional service and instead of properly pruning those willow oaks, they topped the trees (cut the branches off at multiple stubs). Lots of new branches grew out from those cuts in the next season but the attachment of those branches was extremely weak. Additionally, the incorrect cuts made during the topping resulted in fungal infection of the tree branches and the beginning of a slow death of the tree. Years later the dying trees had to be removed at another hefty tree service bill. Even more expensive was the loss in property value.

Solution – Always follow the NC State recommendations on how to hire a tree care professional. You can call our office or visit our website to see these recommendations –  catawba.ces.ncsu.edu

Problem – the homeowner planted new trees and started off with proper pruning. Unfortunately, they were nervous that the trees would not heal properly so they applied a ‘pruning wound solution’ on the fresh cuts. After two years, some of those pruning cut wounds have not been covered by new growth.

Solution – never use pruning wound tars, paints, gels or anything else. Don’t put anything on the wound, even if it begins to ‘bleed’ extensively with sap. Anything put on the wound will not only inhibit growth of new cambium that can eventually cover the wound (plants cannot heal wounds, they only grow over them), but such tar coverings trap moisture in the wound and keep it dark – the perfect combination for pathogenic organisms.

For more information about pruning of trees and shrubs come to the first library gardening presentation of the New Year, the topic for January’s program is:  Pruning – How, When, and on What. You have 3 opportunities every month to catch the library gardening program:

Patrick Beaver Memorial Library – 2nd Thursday of the month from 6-7 PM

Newton Library – 3rd Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 PM

Maiden Library – 4th Tuesday of the month from 6:30-7:30 PM

These presentations are free and open to the public. Persons can attend programs of interest or attend all presentations for program certification. This year’s curriculum will offer two different certification programs:

Master Gardener Certification

Cost: $100

Requirements – Attend all 11 presentations, complete 10 hours of extension workshop education , complete on-line quizzes and exams, complete weed collection project, complete home landscape project, complete 1000 ft2 garden design project, complete 40 hours of community service in gardening activities.

Advanced Gardener Certification:

Cost: Free

Requirements – Attend 9 of the 11 monthly presentations, complete 20 hours of service/learning activities.

For more information on this program visit our website or call our office: 828-465-8247. We have a ton of activities, classes, and workshops planned for the year. Sign up for our Monthly Update on our website and you’ll get our monthly newsletter with all of these opportunities! Don’t miss out.

Written By

Photo of George PlaceGeorge PlaceCounty Extension Director (828) 465-8240 (Office) george_place@ncsu.eduCatawba County, North Carolina
Posted on Jan 4, 2018
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