There comes a time when you need to get out the pruning tools to tidy up your trees. It’s reasonably easy to prune the smaller trees, but you need to call in the experts to deal with large trees.

You could damage your tree, and possibly yourself, if you don’t prune correctly. Here are some hints to help you.

To start with, don’t overlook the task of pruning. It is necessary, even if it is only done occasionally in a tree’s life. You could have branches going off in the wrong direction, perhaps getting entangled in another tree or even trying to force its way into your eaves. This has to be dealt with.

But don’t go overboard with your pruning. Don’t cut a branch off too close to the tree trunk. This might damage the bark on the tree, and also could lead to infection. And if twig-like sprouts appear, you will need to deal with those as well, as they could be sapping the tree’s energy and make it weaker.

There are right ways and wrong ways to prune branches, and if you want the job done right, call an expert, especially with big trees. You might want to cut off the large branches, but these have an important role to play in your tree’s health. If the branch Is so big that you can’t wrap your hands around the branch with fingers touching, cutting off the branch is not recommended. However the experts will know what to do and what not to do.

It is necessary to totally remove a tree that has outgrown the area it was planted in. There’s no point cutting it back, it will look ugly, and in time the problem will arise again.

Pruning bushes might seem an easier task, but you still need to plan ahead. Look at the bush, where it is in relation to other elements in the garden, and decide the best way to deal with it. Don’t go in headlong, cutting here, there and everywhere. The bush needs to finish up in a desired shape, whether nicely rounded, or fancily topiarised, and each pruning session is a step towards the final shape.

Your tools must be sharp. That should go without saying. Trying to prune with dull blades may tear the branches rather than a neat cut. Old blades could also be rusty, and a torn cut by a rusty, dirty blade might lead to disease in the plant, and injure the user.

Use your sharp, clean pruners to thin out the branches, so that sunlight can penetrate to stimulate growth deep into the bush. You don’t want to end up with a bush that has a thin leafy outer, and a skeleton of woody branches within.

Tree pruning mistakes can be noticeable. Be patient. Work methodically. If you’re not sure, research the particular plant and find out what you should do. If you make a mistake, you won’t be able to put the branch back and do it over. However practice makes perfect, and your skills will improve.