Handy Hints


Handy Hints

Pruning tips

Pruning is carried out to shape and improve the structure and health of young and mature trees. The earlier the formative pruning is carried out, the more likely the tree will flourish and thrive. Early spring marks a new phase of pruning as trees are no longer sitting dormant and energy is beginning to flow, allowing for quicker healing of cut wounds.

When pruning branches, it is best to remove crossing or rubbing branches. Look for and remove diseased and cankered areas, and dead or damaged limbs. Prune out tight-angled crotches, as they are much weaker than wide-angled crotches. Avoid removing healthy branches on mature trees since they will not rejuvenate very quickly.

There are many ways to train and prune fruit trees with no single method being right for all situations and needs. One important consideration of a fruit tree is its size. Many people prefer small trees because they are easier to manage and harvest, and more a variety of fruit types can be grown in a limited space.

Danger signs

While most trees live for decades or even centuries, they can be affected by changes in their environment, damage, disease or old age. Here are some of the signs that a tree is suffering and requires attention:

  • Dead wood and dieback
  • Hangers
  • Mistletoe
  • Twin barrels
  • Included bark
  • Fungal fruiting bodies

If you notice a tree showing one or more of these danger signs, call High Country Tree Services and one of our arborists will advise you on the best course of action – for you and the tree.

Download our free eBook “Guide to Healthy Trees”

Bushfire season

When preparing for bushfire season, it is important to inspect your property and clean up to reduce the amount of fuel for the fire, creating a ‘defendable space’.  All vegetation is fuel whether it is dead or alive and looking at the types of fuel around your property is essential.  Fuel reduction is aimed at decreasing the intensity of the fire and the devastation it can cause.

Basic fuel reduction includes cleaning out gutters, raking up leaves and debris, keeping grass short, moving firewood piles away from the house, etc.  These are all important, but you can go one step further.

Take a walk outside and have a look at the trees close to your house.  Are they native or European, well established or young, closer than 10 metres or overhanging the house, dead or alive, smooth or stringy bark?  All these factors can increase your fire danger.

Here are some tips for protecting your property:

  • Reduce the dead and dry fuel around your property. Trees can catch fire from ember attack or radiant heat, which can ignite exposed surfaces without direct flame contact.  Dead trees will burn quicker and hotter than live trees.
  • Remove dead limbs and trim excessive lower limbs to reduce the chances of tree ignition from a grass or debris fire.
  • Selectively remove small trees and shrubs to open up areas and create clumps rather than a continuous wall to reduce fire spread.
  • Clear branches back from houses, especially close to gutters so that they do not fill with leaf litter.
  • Thin out canopies of high fuel trees such as natives, particularly if they are close to the house to minimize fire intensity and radiant heat if the tree did alight.
  • When planting trees around your home and other assets, consult an arborist or your local nursery to discuss tree selection.  Native trees are fuel loaded.  Check the flammability of trees before purchase and place highly flammable trees away from assets.
  • Remove debris from pruning and tree removal away from the house to be burnt when fire restrictions are lifted.

Remember, clearing vegetation to 30 metres around your house is not going to guarantee a defendable space, but by applying these fuel reduction techniques, you are giving you and your property a fighting chance.