Once a tree is mature (fully grown), it may require occasional pruning to remove dead, weakened, diseased or insect infested branches. Sometimes branches will be removed to provide head room for mowing or car access. At times, the structure of the tree skeleton may be need to be adjusted by pruning to thin out the canopy.

Each tree species or cultivar has a mature height and spread that it is destined to attain. You should make every effort to allow it to grow to its natural size and shape. Of course, you have the power saws so you can cut it into any size or shape that you like. However, doing this will probably impact the health of the tree and the trunk will soon get out of proportion with the severely trimmed canopy.

If you must try to control the ultimate height of the tree, it is best to start with a little pruning each year when the tree is young. Waiting until it is full grown to begin controlling the height will result in problems. A drastic form of this is called topping.

Large limbs must be cut with a saw. The recommended procedure is to remove a larger limbs in either a two or three step process. For extremely large branches or ones that are high in the tree, it is best to have the job done by a professional arborist. They have the equipment to do it safely and properly.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.

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