Preparing to Prune

In the spirit of Tu B’shvat, also known as the Jewish Arbor Day, this month’s gardening tip will get you ready to tend your trees! How might you tend your trees? One of the most helpful methods for ensuring good tree health, increased fruit yields, and better looking trees overall is pruning. Below you will find answers to common pruning questions gardeners might have this time of year.


What is pruning?

To prune is to cut away or remove unwanted parts of a tree (or any plant for that matter, such as tomatoes) such as overgrown or dead branches/stems.


When is the best time to prune a tree?

According to the Colorado State Forest Service, the best time to prune a tree is in mid-to-late winter. In Colorado, this means mid-February to March. So January is the perfect time to do some research and gather tools or materials you made need to get the job done.


How do I know which branches to prune? 

If it is a fairly young tree, begin with just cutting off and removing dead branches and leaves. For more developed trees, prune any branches that are hindering the tree or your needs of the tree in the following ways:

-Signs of disease

-Growing vertically underneath the main canopy

-Blocking light from reaching branches underneath

-Weighing down other branches

-Generally in the way when trying to pick fruits during the growing season


Which pruning tools are best?

For accessing hard to reach and thicker branches, a curved Grecian saw gets the job done. For more challenging thick parts of the tree, a bow saw might be needed. As for smaller pruning jobs, a hand pruner or looper can be just what you need. Check out this blog post for more tips about tools. Gloves are also useful for protecting your hands from splinters, thorns, and the cold weather!


What should I do with all the tree debris? 

In Denver, there are a few options for disposing of your branches and tree debris.

-Drive and drop off your debris at the recycling center on Quebec and Cherry Creek Drive South. More info about this option can be found through the City of Denver here.

-Find out your residential pick-up date for yard waste through the scheduling search site here. 

-Save and use your branches for your fire place, your compost, your garden, or fun art projects.


Stay safe, and enjoy getting to know your trees!

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