Trees do not need pruning.
They already know how to engineer their structures to fortify themselves against prevailing winds and capture the best available light. The tree carefully balances the size and form of its trunk and branches with the size and extent of its root system.
This is important for its structural integrity - but it’s equally important to preserve the fine balance between the canopy’s capacity to photosynthesize, and the root system’s capacity to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Whenever a tree is pruned, its roots die in corresponding proportion.
Pruning is a deliberate injury, weakening the tree and creating raw wounds that are unprotected against insect and microbe attacks.
We are often told that pruning is an effective method to protect our trees from pests and diseases - how can we possibly assume this is helpful to a tree that is already under stress?
With appropriate nutrition and growing conditions trees already know how to protect themselves, and they do not need our interference. It is time we learned to respect the intelligence in Nature.
Trees thrived long before the evolution of the human species, and will likely continue to thrive long after we are gone.
In almost all situations the “need” to prune arises from inappropriate plant choices. Trees require a lot of space, above and below ground. That beautiful little tree in the five gallon container may in time grow a canopy spanning thirty feet or more!
Our job is to create and maintain healthy ecosystems, and that includes preventing predictable problems.
Pruning can almost always be prevented through appropriate plant choices. Where pruning is unavoidable, please hire an arborist with extensive advanced training in tree health care.
We go much deeper into this topic in our online course, which you can discover here: