If your garden has had to endure some strong winds, you may have some unlucky trees which are slightly damaged and in need of restoration pruning. Here are some tips to make that task easier.
Survey your tree and discover if you require a tree surgeon.
The first step is to survey the tree, not just for damage but to size up the task. If the tree is very large, is brittle / diseased or if it has a large damaged branch just hanging high up on splinter of wood then call in the experts. A qualified tree surgeon will have the skills, correct equipment and insurance to deal with large tree limbs. Check the Golden Pages or local directories for the contact details of the tree surgeons operating in your area. Tree surgery is not cheap, but neither is a stay in hospital. The type of damaged branch that is well within the capabilities of most garden owners is the broken side branch on a tree which is reachable from the ground (without resorting to cutting from ladders).
How do I make the first tree pruning cut?
If you have a damaged tree there are some steps you can take to avoid bad shape, decay and possible death of one of the gardens linchpins. Step one in the removal process is to clear the area of on-lookers (spouses, children, pets etc.), also ensure you have a clear escape route should something unforeseen occur. A safety body approved hard hat and stout gloves should be worn whilst pruning damaged trees. Using a sharp hand saw cut the branch into manageable lengths from the outermost point inwards. Leave a stub of approx 1ft (30cm) attached to the tree trunk.
Undercutting and wound sealing your tree.
Next make a shallow undercut on the stub approx 4 inches (10cm) from the trunk. Cut the stub from above approx 1 inch (2.5 cm) away from the trunk. Hold the stub whilst cutting, holding the stub and the earlier undercutting will prevent the trunk bark from being torn below the branch. " Lightly pare the edges of the cut surface with a knife to make them smooth. Some horticultural advisors say that the wound should be painted with tar based wound paint, disregard this. The latest theory is to leave the wound unpainted, tests have found that painting actually seals in diseases rather than keep them out. The wound should start to callus (heal) within 3 months.
Once again let me advise you to call in a tree surgeon if the job is larger than your experience.
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