Learn to Prune Trees Successfully with Video Instructions

New video series gives step-by-step instructions on pruning trees

January 30, 2020, 1:23 pm | Jeffery Iles, Zach Clemens

AMES, Iowa – Trees are an important part of the ecosystem, and just like so many other plants, they need proper care and maintenance to have a long, healthy life. Part of that maintenance is pruning at least once per year.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has created a new video series that explains the principles of pruning and gives step-by-step instructions on how to prune, along with the different situations that will be encountered when pruning.

pruning a tree by hand.“When we plant a tree, we envision it will have a long and useful life. Unfortunately, structural flaws, like weak or overcrowded branches, multiple leaders and more can result in partial or complete tree failure,” said Jeff Iles, professor and chair in horticulture at Iowa State. “Pruning trees, especially when they are young, will promote overall tree health and a strong trunk, and help create a branch framework/network that is both resilient and beautiful.”

The first video in the series is the basics of pruning: when and why to do it, factors to consider and the tools needed to be successful. Part 2 of the series explains how to make a good basic cut on a shade tree, using the three-cut technique, and why it should be done that way.

The final video in the series, Part 3, describes the problems when trees develop included bark, which can cause excessive damage to the tree, what to watch for and how to deal with it. Iles also discusses the options for dealing with pruning wounds.

“Viewers of these videos will learn the basics of why and when to prune, and how to practice good pruning mechanics and techniques,” he said.

For more information on pruning, review ISU Extension and Outreach publication “Pruning Trees: Shade, Flowering, and Conifer” (SUL 0005).


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