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  • Writer's pictureAaron Cull

Is Your Tree at Risk? Here Are Signs It Needs Pruning

An arborist removing dead branches

Tree pruning is essential for maintaining the health, safety, and aesthetics of your trees. For homeowners in Calgary, recognizing when a tree needs pruning can prevent potential hazards and ensure the longevity of your trees. Here are the key signs that indicate your tree might need pruning, with specific considerations for Calgary’s climate and environment.


1. Dead or Dying Branches

One of the most obvious signs that a tree needs pruning is the presence of dead or dying branches. These branches are easy to spot: they lack leaves, have a brittle texture, and produce a hollow sound when tapped. Removing these branches is crucial because they can fall unexpectedly, posing safety risks and potentially causing damage to your property.


2. Overgrown Branches

  • Interference with Structures: Branches that grow too long can come into contact with houses, power lines, or other structures. This can cause damage and increase the risk of branches breaking during storms. Pruning these branches prevents such problems.

  • Reduced Air Circulation: Dense canopies impede airflow, leading to fungal growth and an increased susceptibility to diseases. Thinning out these branches can improve air circulation and tree health.

  • Excessive Shading: Overgrown branches can block sunlight from reaching the lower parts of the tree and nearby plants, hindering their growth. Pruning ensures adequate sunlight penetration, promoting a healthy ecosystem in your yard.


3. Crossed or Rubbing Branches

Branches that cross each other or rub together can cause wounds on the tree, making it vulnerable to pests and diseases. Pruning these branches helps maintain the tree’s structural integrity and overall health.


4. Weak or Narrow Crotches

Branches that form a narrow angle with the trunk are more likely to break, especially during Calgary’s frequent storms or heavy snowfall. Identifying and pruning these weak branches can prevent future damage and enhance the tree’s stability.


5. Signs of Disease or Pests

Look out for discolored leaves, unusual growth patterns, and the presence of insects. These are indicators of disease or pest infestations. Pruning the affected branches can help contain the spread of disease or pests to other parts of the tree or neighboring trees.


Fruit tree suckers being removed

6. Problematic Growth Patterns

  • Suckers and Water Sprouts: These vigorous shoots grow from the base of the tree or along the branches. They should be pruned as they can drain nutrients from the main tree and disrupt its natural shape.

  • Codominant Stems: When a tree has two or more main stems, it can lead to structural weaknesses. Pruning to establish a single, dominant stem is often recommended to ensure stability and strength.


7. Seasonal Considerations

For Calgary homeowners, it’s important to consider the timing of pruning. The best time for pruning most trees is late winter to early spring, just before the growing season begins. This timing helps in faster healing and reduces the risk of disease spread. However, some trees, such as maples and birches, bleed sap heavily if pruned in late winter and are better pruned in late summer or early fall.


Seeing the signs? It's time to act.

Recognizing the signs that a tree needs pruning is crucial for Calgary homeowners to maintain healthy and safe trees. Dead or dying branches, overgrown branches, crossed or rubbing branches, weak crotches, signs of disease or pests, problematic growth patterns, and appropriate seasonal timing are all critical indicators for pruning. Proper pruning not only enhances the tree’s health and appearance but also mitigates potential safety hazards. If you’re uncertain about the pruning process, consider consulting with a professional arborist.


Don’t wait for a hazard to appear. Contact Evergreen LTD today for a professional tree assessment. Our ISA Certified Arborists in Calgary are ready to help you maintain the health and safety of your trees with expert pruning services. Schedule a consultation now and ensure your trees thrive.

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