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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - June 17, 2009

From: Manitowoc, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: How to prune my Linden tree?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have a 15 yr old Linden in the backyard. North side of home. It can use some pruning at the lower branches. Which branches do we prune and when? Also we have some river birches back there. Other side of the backyard. 2 clumps of 2. The bark is cracked, but they are holding their own. When to prune and where? Thank-you

ANSWER:

The short answer to the "when" part of the question is "Not Now". Pruning of trees is best done in the late winter/early spring as the trees are breaking dormancy. This helps to ensure the healing of the cuts. Pruning can also be done in late fall after leaf drop.

Pruning of mature trees can be quite an undertaking, so I am going to refer you to several websites that address various aspects of tree care and pruning.

A publication by the South Dakota Dept. of Agricululture ; "The Basics of Tree Pruning".

An article from the Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences; "Pruning Mature Trees is Best Left to Professionals".

"Tree Care Information" from the International Society of Arborculture. While on this page, click on the "Why Hire an Arborist" article from the menu on the left side.

For some help close to home, check with the folks at the Manitowoc County Cooperative Extension Office .

The Wisconsin Arborists Association can assist you in finding an arborist in your area.

Somewhere in all of this information I found the truism: Pruning trees is more that cutting off branches.

 

 

 

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