I love pruning trees & shrubs. Once I get started, I’ll keep going until my blisters have blisters, leaving my hands sore and tired for days. Regardless, the satisfaction of whipping nature into submission is inexplicable.
My first real pruning efforts were not appreciated. I pruned the top 10 feet off a 15-foot juniper. It never recovered.
Since winter is getting closer, let’s focus on the areas that matter most:
- Branches hanging over the roof should be pruned back at least 2 to 4 feet from the edge of the building. (Fire defensible space is 10 feet minimum)
- Conifers are generally happiest when trimmed in the fall
- Flowering cherries should be pruned by mid-fall, but it’s never too late
- Dead/damaged/diseased wood should be taken out any time. Diseased wood should be burned or taken to your enemy’s property where it can spread (don’t forget to pray for them) if you need a warm prison cell for sleeping in this winter.
- Branches hanging over parking areas should be considered hazardous. (My Subaru still has “hail damage” from parking under a pecan tree in the fall… and have you ever been hit on the head with something falling from a tree?)
- Branches hanging over your neighbor’s fence should be evaluated as to strength. If you see areas of the tree that are hollow (or the top is dead/broken off), the health of the tree is likely compromised. Better to control the falling branch than have it damage your fence and friendship.
If you do live in a fire-prone area, now would be the time to begin giving consideration to any defensible space changes you might like to make. From the summer fires of 2012 & 2013, the homes that survived victoriously were those with fire-resistant roofing materials AND those that had followed a clear defensible space plan.