Tree Body of Palos Park
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Light pruning and the removal of dead wood can be done at any time; but, pruning during dormancy is the most common practice. It results in a vigorous burst of growth in the spring. Wait until the coldest part of winter has passed before you start in. You will want to remove branches that leave the trunk at too narrow an angle, in-growers, any watersprouts and suckers, rubbing branches, branches that will soon be an obstruction, and double leaders.

In summer, to direct growth, remove branches above a bud which is facing the direction that you want the tree to grow. Do this after the seasonal growth is complete. Also, in summer, you can prune for corrective purposes. You can eliminate dead limbs or ones that hang down too far under the weight of leaves.

In fall, it is not wise to prune because fungi spread their spores profusely in fall and healing of wounds is slower. In the case of storm damage, prune immediately regardless of the time of year.

Remember to keep your pruning equipment sharp and to use household bleach to disinfect your pruning tools before each use. Always check with your county extension agent to learn about any local problems that would affect pruning. (708-298-3502) For more details about pruning, call the Plant Clinic at the Morton Aboretum. (630-719-2424). You can also visit the Tree Body Reference File at the Palos Park library for illustrated instructions.