4 FAQs About Tree Pruning Mishaps


Tree pruning is not always easy for those unfamiliar with the process. There are rules to follow to avoid pruning mishaps. Mistakes can lead to tree damage and tree death.

How do you know if your tree can survive a pruning mishap? Does a mistake mean a tree won't ever completely recover? Here are answers to some FAQS about bad pruning experiences.

Can Over-Pruning Kill a Tree?

Over-pruning won't kill the plant, especially if it's just a one-time mistake. However, if you continue to prune too much, tree branches weaken, making them unable to withstand wind or ice. Over-pruning often exhausts plants until they can't replenish their canopy and die.

Heavily pruned trees die from stress and repeated removal of too many limbs. They won't die from one mishap.

Can I Fix a Pruning Mistake?

Once limbs are gone, you can't replace them. If you know you've messed up a pruning job, wait until the tree is dormant to prune to correct wrong cuts.

  • Thinning cuts take out an entire branch at the point of origin.
  • Reduction cuts take the branch to the lateral branch.

However, if you can't right the wrong cuts, the best move is to top the tree. The tree may never return to its original form, but it has a good chance of survival.

Will an Over-Pruned Tree Recover?

Over-pruned trees can and do recover. However, the tree may struggle to get back to its healthy state. Removing too much while pruning reduces the leaves that the tree needs to make food. This can lead to the tree's starvation and eventual death if too much foliage is gone.

When the tree does recover, it won't produce new growth until spring. Once the tree produces new foliage, it is more likely to recover and regain its healthy state.

How Long Does It Take a Tree to Recover?

The time it takes for a tree to recover from over-pruning varies. Trees recover in about a year. The varies by type of trees, how much foliage is missing, and the type of tree. If you're unsure whether your pruning mishap is fatal, contact a local tree service to examine the tree. The professional understands the nature of different species of trees and advises you accordingly.

Pruning mishaps happen, and while they can be devastating to a tree, it doesn't have to be fatal. If you need help pruning or fixing a mistake, call a professional arborist or tree service such as Mow Better Tree Service, LLC for assistance.


2 March 2022

A Tree For Every Yard

Elm, ash, walnut, maple, apple — these are all gorgeous trees, but they all have their own preferences in terms of care. Maple trees, for example, need to be pruned later in the season once their sap has begun flowing. Elm trees should be pruned in winter when insects aren't around in order to protect them from the emerald ash borer. A good tree care company will treat each of your trees as individuals, customizing care to their own specific needs. Still, it's important that you, as the tree owner, understand those needs, too. Read the articles on your website, and you'll soon have a pretty good grasps on the basics of tree care.