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We'll talk about a few pruning techniques today. We're just gonna show you a few different things on pruning trees specifically our team which are used in Dublin, Ireland (our company based in Dublin, Ireland). You’ll find various ways of pruning. We will talk about canopy thinning, that in fact indicates the canopy cleaning internally. It’s usually done when pruning dying and dead branches out or those branches that interferes or crosses one another. The branches that are pointing downward, that require another way of pruning. That would be number two, would be canopy lifting. A lot of the calls that we get are from people of Dublin, Ireland who have grass that's dying. They're asking how can I get my grass to grow? How to prune a tree to let in more sunlight? So that would be a canopy lifting cut. And then lastly, would be a crown reduction cut, which is a little different than a topping cut, like what they call hat-racking, where people want to shape a tree. Believe it or not, trees are not like bushes. You cannot really shape a tree specifically.

How We Usually Prune a Tree:

Let's go with pruning, go back and start with interior pruning and thinning. So we're looking for dead, dying, crossing and interfering, and the downward pointing. Anyway, crossing and interfering is a place where one branch has grown and come across another branch, and it's basically, it's essentially, interfering with and rubbing. The reason you don't want that is one branch is continually rubbing and it irritates the bark. It draws down the tree's energy, 'cause the tree can't move it, and so it's constantly trying to heal that irritation on both the branch and whatever else it's rubbing on. You wanna take out one of the two. That's crossing and interfering. Remember that pruning a tree is not an easy task, rather a very dangerous task.  If you are not that confident, you should call on experts.

Choose The Perfect Branch Or Portion To Prune  

Dead and dying is pretty obvious. If you've had an injury to a branch or fungal attack, insects have gotten on it, whatever it is, and the tree and the branch, that section  is starting to die out, you wanna get that off so that the tree can start closing that wound, and move on to allocating energy toward a different branch. And then, let’s talk about downward pointing. That's obvious, and that's gonna be something like this. It's gonna start to get in the way of maybe little bushes that are below.

How To Run Actual Cut To A Branch Collar

So, let's talk about the actual running cuts and how we make the cuts. So, let me introduce you to this area. So what you don't want is you do not want 90 degree angle. If you notice, you’ll find both parallel lines there. This is what they call the branch collar. That's the transition from the trunk, up to this bottom line, and then the top branch collar is this transition right here. Where you want to cut is on the branch collar, right outside. So, right outside would be right there slight outside of the bark, if you can see, that's your line. What you don't want ever, is a 90 degree angle on your cut, either on the top or the bottom. You want slightly less than 90 degrees, which means that you've cut just at the end of the branch collar, slightly in. And here's the science and the reason behind it.

Why To Prune A Tree 

You want the very smallest wound possible, the smallest cut face possible. If you go down and do what they call a flush cut, where you follow this line, the problem is it opens that pruning cut, and makes it so that the tree has to heal and allocate more resources to close that wound. The flip side is if you come out here and cut way out of the stub and you leave a stub on it, well there's not gonna be any sap flowing out there. And so the tree will sense that it's dead and try to start healing right here, try to start closing what it senses is a wound. And if it starts trying to close, but there's still a piece of material in it, the dead, the decay, will enter into the trunk, it won't be able to close, a knothole will form, and then in years, years, years, years later, you'll get a big old weak spot inside the main trunk, all because you didn't make a proper cut. That's the science behind cutting at the end of the branch collar, small face allows it to close, doesn't allow decay as quickly to enter the tree. That is proper pruning at the end of the branch collar.

Crown Reduction Cut Is Another Way To Prune A Tree

Let's talk about something else, and that is when you're doing a crown reduction cut, trying to bring out, let's say you have a branch here, let's say this branch is right here. It's starting to rub against the house, and you're a little irritated, you're like, I need to bring some of this back. You can't just willy-nilly go shaping this tree. Instead, you do a crown reduction cut.


So let's look at how you do that. First rule with a crown reduction cut is the one that you leave has to be 50% or more of the one that you're cutting. So if you're cutting one that is one inch in diameter, the one that's remaining needs to be at least half an inch. A lot of times, doing crown reduction cuts doesn't really bring the tree back very far. It really depends on how the tree has set itself up. The tree dictates how it can be reduced. Certain trees like Bradford pears, they don't give you any ability. They're so long and lanky, and they don't have very many, what they call lateral branches, coming out. If you were doing a crown reduction cut, cutting this and leaving this, you cut the angle typically wants to follow the inside line. It falls down and when the tip hits the ground and then the branch releases, it makes the branch fall toward their ladder.

If you're not qualified, we are here in Dublin, Ireland to serve you as tree surgeons. If you don't have experience, it's really, really dangerous. 

Let’s Share Few Tips On Pruning Small Trees:

I just want to give some tips on pruning small trees, some just basic pruning tips. If you were doing a crown reduction cut. Any time you get rolling of the healing, not everybody knows this, but trees only have new cell production capabilities right underneath the bark called the cambium layer, for the trunk part of the tree. Obviously, they can create new cells in their leaves, their buds, their seeds, their whatnot. But in the trunk, the only new cell capability is right under the bark, called the cambium layer. If there's been damage on that, and it's starting to roll, and you see it's trying to heal that callous, it's set up internal layers inside that callous to prevent decay entering in.

Never Prune A Branch That Is Callous:

What you never wanna do is scrape or damage that callous, because that callous has organic internal layers to prevent decays spreading or to inhibit it. If you penetrate that, it can't re-setup new layers on layers that it's already set up. So it can really affect decay entering a tree. The reason I pointed this out is I was super, super careful, to make sure that I did not, 'cause there was a branch going across there, and it had started to callous, and I was really, really, really, really careful not to damage it, and three years later, it's 100% healed. So if you have an area that you have been crossing and interfering, be real careful not to scrape that rounded area, because you don't want to create a situation where decay is gonna go into your tree, and the tree can't fight it off.


I hope this helps you thin the interior of your tree if you have to prune. Understand a little bit about canopy lifting, oh, which we never talked about, but essentially, canopy lifting's canopy lifting. Regarding your grass growing, get bigger mulch islands. I'm a big proponent of mulch, simply because the grass and trees don't mix. Okay guys, that's it. If you guys have any questions about How to  prune a tree in Dublin, Ireland, feel free to contact us anytime. We'd love to come out, we can give you a free estimate. We're experienced and arborists taking care of trees in Dublin, Ireland.