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Some people who have trees on their property are happy to have them grow as they will. After all, trees in the forest don’t need humans to come and prune them, and many manage to live to great old age. But domesticated trees could benefit greatly from a little pruning now and then. Here are eight benefits of pruning trees:

1. For Beauty

There are trees that, while healthy, are not proportionate or at least not proportionate in the eye of their owner. This is especially true of evergreen hedges whose lower branches may not be as dense and pleasing to the eye as they should be.

2. For Fruit and Flowers

Pruning stimulates trees grown for their fruit and flowers to produce growth spurs, which lead to flower buds which, in some trees, leads to fruit. Fruit trees should also be given a light pruning during the summer while the fruit is developing. This allows them to receive more light and air and lowers the risk of diseases.

3. To Remove Suckers

Suckers are those branches that spring up at the bottom of some trees. They don’t produce fruit and only take nutrients from the tree. Some gardening experts suggest tearing suckers out by hand, but if they’re too tough, good pruning shears or loppers will do the job.

4. For Protection

Tree limbs shouldn’t overhang buildings, play areas or the neighbor’s yard, especially if the overhanging branches are large and heavy. Pruning removes these potentially dangerous limbs.

5. For Cleanliness

Even if a branch isn’t in danger of breaking off and falling, they still shed leaves, flowers, nuts and fruit that need to be cleaned up. Prune branches that will leave a mess in an area that needs to be kept tidy, such as patios, outdoor kitchens, swimming pools and other water features.

6. For Air Flow

Limbing up a tree means pruning its lower branches. This allows for better air flow and spares a grown-up from having to duck under low hanging limbs to do yard work. Limbing up also provides a better view. Branches should be pruned with 12 to 15 feet from the ground of a good sized tree.

7. For the Health of the Tree

Besides removing dangerous limbs, this is the best reason to prune a tree. Pruning gets rid of branches that are dead and diseased or that rub against each other. Pruning also allows air to circulate among the branches and lets sunlight reach leaves and fruit. However, the gardener must take care not to “top” the tree. This is when the pruning is so brutal that the limbs look like stubs. It’s also called hatracking because when the pruning is over the tree looks like a hat rack. Most gardeners now agree that such pruning makes the tree weak and shortens its life span.

8. To Control Their Height

Pruning can also control how tall the tree grows, which is important if the yard is small and the owner doesn’t want the tree to overwhelm it.

Most of this pruning can be done by the owner. However, if an owner has a tree that is very big and tall and is nervous of climbing it to prune it, it’s perfectly acceptable to call a tree pruning service.