We all look a little rough around the edges from time to time, and especially at the end of winter. Unkept and scraggly. Today, it was the trees in the yard’s turn for a trimming. A clean-up and renewal.
I will be the first admit. Our city lot is probably over-planted, with a catalpa and American cedar in the front yard and a pin oak and Japanese maple in the back. But, what is a boy who loves trees to do?
Though I am not a proponent of cramming your yard and garden with trees, I would rather err on the side of too many. They cool the earth, shade the house in the summer, and of course, provide habitat for birds, insects, squirrels (whom I love). And they create shady garden beds for hosta, heuchera, astilbe, fern, and all the great shade-loving plants out there.
But extra trees mean extra trimming, to keep them lean and healthy, and to keep them from encroaching on one another, as well as the eaves of the house. I gave Matt’s Tree Service of Minneapolis a call and they were out today. Late in the dormant season is the ideal time for pruning. The new spring growth will help seal the wounds and the leafless branches help you make your pruning decisions more easily.
In a typical year in Minnesota, the general rule of thumb is to have your trees trimmed by April 1, but all bets are off this year with the early spring. It is recommended to never prune oaks in April, May or June to help ward off oak wilt.
In addition to someone else climbing up the trees and doing the cuts, it’s helpful to have some pros come in and offer their expertise, as pruning is as much art as it is science. There are some general rules of thumb: remove branches that are crossing and rubbing each other, remove dead and damaged branches, and do not remove more than a quarter of the tree. Thinning out the crown of the tree allows for greater air circulation and more sunlight getting in. Limbing up the lower branches allows for more livable space beneath the tree. Beyond that, its a matter of personal aesthetics.
Next, this tree hugger needs to cut his hair and get his dog’s toenails trimmed.