Dead branches in the canopy of your landscape trees can be a major source of concern. While some deadwood is normal, it can also indicate cultural problems or disease issues that could eventually affect the rest of the tree. Understanding the reasons for removal and the proper way to do so is the key to preventing further issues.
The Trouble With Deadwood
There are four main reasons to remove deadwood as soon as you notice it:
Tree health. Even if the deadwood isn't symptomatic of a problem, it can provide an entry point for insects or disease organisms.
Safety. Falling deadwood can cause major injury, or even death.
Liability. Deadwood can fall onto others' property, such as a neighbor's home or car, and cause damage.
Appearance. Deadwood is not an attractive thing to have on a living tree.
It's possible to remove small deadwood on your own with little risk to you or the tree. Only do this for smaller branches that are low enough to be reached on a small step ladder or with a pole pruner. Also, make sure you have a partner when cutting out branches or working on a ladder so they can get help if necessary.
To remove the branches on your own you will need bypass pruners for branches thinner than your finger, or a pruning saw for larger branches. You will also need a bucket filled with diluted bleach in water to disinfect the pruners or saw after removal of each branch. This ensures disease or pests aren't spread.
When cutting the branch, do so near up against the collar – this is the small raised area where the branch joins the trunk or another branch. It's best to cut the branch from above or from the side. Do not stand directly under the branch as you cut. Dispose of all removed branches in case they contain any pests or disease organisms.
When to Call For Help
Not all deadwood should be removed by the homeowner. Exceptionally large branches, especially those that make up the main framework of the tree, should be removed by a professional like those represented at http://treesculptors.com. This is because the tree will need further pruning to make up for the loss of such a major branch. Large, heavy branches also pose a safety concern for the amateur pruner. You should also bring in a professional if you suspect disease or pests as the cause of death, or if the tree is near power lines.