I enjoyed your article about pruning fruit trees. Are other trees also pruned like fruit trees? Could you explain the differences?
There are some similarities, but also a lot of differences in pruning shade trees and evergreens. Other trees need a lot less pruning than fruit trees.
Young trees need some help in developing major scaffold branches. The main job is to remove branches with narrow angles between the branch and the trunk. These narrow crotch angle branches are weak and are the first ones to break in a storm.
I also like to leave branches on the lower part of the trunk temporarily. They supply food that increases the growth of the trunk diameter. I shorten these branches to about 6 to 12 inches and allow tufts of growth for the first two to three years. I then prune them back even with the trunk.
Removing upright-growing branches (water sprouts) is a good practice with most trees. Trees that naturally have upright growth of all branches should be allowed to develop naturally. There is no need to thin side branches the way we do with fruit trees. I usually remove a few branches that grow toward the center of the tree. I also remove some crossing branches unless the normal growth pattern is thick inner branch growth.
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