A gardener’s delight is when his trees reach fulfilling shapes. And in this pursuit, trees suffer sometimes, due to our lack of understanding of their functioning. Along with other detrimental treatments, over-pruning is a major harm to trees. The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) has already set a standard regarding pruning of trees, where they recommend that only “the dead, diseased or broken branches” should undergo trimming.
Traditional myths regarding pruning has contaminated our methods so much that despite our best intents, several trees wither away. Also, we seldom consult specialists before attempting any such operation on trees. In any case, the trees suffer due to over-trimming. What are the harms that over-pruning can cause? We discuss below in greater depth.
#1Food Supply Cut
My grandfather, a passionate gardener himself, would often say that plants need more of sun and water than chemicals (fertilizers) that industries produce. Notwithstanding his contempt for industrial advancements, he was precisely speaking the tree’s heart. While pruning, we intend to remove the overgrown branches, etc., but in the process, a good fraction of foliage is also sacrificed.
Leaves are the kitchen for plants and as a consequence of over-pruning, plants suffer a lack of food supply. Naturally they starve, thus initiating an unbalanced metabolism in their system.
#2Recovery Takes a Longer Time
Analogical to human anatomy, plants also require that their cuts should be quickly healed. The thumb rule is to let a tree have less cuts as possible. Minor cuts are easy to recover than a larger dissection. Also, when the plant is young,
they have enhanced abilities to grow, so a younger plant is less susceptible to such injuries than a fully matured tree. One large cut made on the cross-section of a tree’s trunk can retard the growth and even become a fatal blow to its life.
#3 Pruning Results in Increased Costs
Over trimming of trees promotes sprouting and one will need to do away with those unwanted growths to retain the esthetic value of the tree. That is a red code for your annual budget. To have periodic tree-pruning will need your constant vigilance thus taking your time as well.
“Shoot growth is greatest in terminal sections of limbs and is greater in vertically-oriented limbs”
#4 Tree-pruning Adversely Affects the Tree’s Growth
Over pruning causes sprouting that is often uncontrolled due to our lack of labor and vigilance. That compounded with unregulated tree-metabolism results in a greater lateral growth of the tree. Consequently there is a situation of direct competition between the various organs, causing a noticeable decrease in production of floral parts. (flowers, fruits, etc.).
Apart from that, over-trimming on the terminals (apex) is noxious for the growth of auxin. That considerably destroys the prospects for apical bud.
#5 Susceptible to Mechanical Injuries
In geographical areas having characteristic wind and snow falls, trees need to endure the unimaginable mechanical tension. A tall tree having a higher canopy (with respect to trunk height) have a greater resistivity than a tree that has more growth in lower regions. If there is excess growth, the stress load shifts the center of gravitation low, thus rendering the tree more vulnerable to external shocks. In case such conditions are allowed to sustain (or if the situation recurs), there are high risks that the tree will break down causing damage to property and lives.