Pruning is much more than the simple act of sawing off limbs and should be a regular part of all tree and shrub maintenance programs.
Proper pruning encourages strong growth, increases flower and fruit production, improves health, and removes damaged limbs, all which give aesthetic appeal to a tree. Pruning at the right time and in the right way is critical, since it is possible to kill a healthy tree through neglect or over-pruning. Essentially, pruning should enhance the trees natural shape.
Here are a few main reasons to prune your trees:
Branches die off for a number of reasons including light deficiency, pest and disease damage, and root structure damage. A dead branch will at some point decay back to the parent stem and fall off. This is normally a slow process but can be quickened by high winds or extreme temperature. The main reason deadwooding is performed is safety. Situations that usually demand removal of deadwood is trees that overhang public roads, houses, public areas and gardens. Usually, trees adjacent to footpaths and access roads are considered priorities for deadwood removal.
Another reason for deadwooding is amenity value, i.e. a tree with a large amount of deadwood throughout the crown looks more aesthetically pleasing with the deadwood removed. The physical practice of deadwooding can be carried out most of the year though not when the tree is coming into leaf. This process speeds up the tree's natural abscission process. It also reduces unwanted weight and wind resistance and can help overall balance.
Crown and canopy thinning increases light and reduces wind resistance by selective removal of branches throughout the canopy of the tree. This is a common practice which improves the tree's strength against adverse weather conditions as the wind can pass through the tree resulting in less "load" being placed on the tree. The shape is vital for the survival of the tree and lopping off the wrong sections of a tree if it has surpassed its height limit can actually be extremely damaging. This can hinder its growth or cause an overbalance.
Crown lifting involves the removal of the lower branches to a given height. The height is achieved by the removal of whole branches or removing the parts of branches which extend below the desired height. The branches are normally not lifted to more than one third of the tree's total height.
Removal of appropriate branches to make the tree structurally sound while shaping it.
Reducing the height and or spread of a tree by selectively cutting back to smaller branches and in fruit trees for increasing of light interception and enhancing fruit quality.