Reasons for pruning
While other tree species are dependent on timely pruning for the development of their fruits, for example, the birch can basically do without further intervention. Still, it can make sense to cut birch trees. Be it because they are too high for their location or because they are otherwise disturbing. Above all, the cut serves to give surrounding plants more space and light. In order not to destroy the growth habit, however, you should carefully contain the crown instead of thinning out regularly.
- Avoid: thinning out the crown by constantly shortening it
- Better: reduce the circumference of the crown
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Target the crown
In order for the tree to let more light through between the branches, it is possible to illuminate the crown by shortening individual branches. This only helps for a short time, because the vital tree will keep producing new shoots to close the gaps. They would soon have to cut again, and the constant new shoots result in thickening and the natural symmetry of the growth suffers. You are also robbing the thicker branches of important leaves that are essential for nutrition. Since they would have to cut again and again, this would lead to a weakening of the birch in the long run.
Reducing the scope - instructions
- Remove duplicate branches, i.e. specimens that are one behind the other. You can completely remove the branches in the front level instead of just shortening the branches.
- Avoid shortening the leading shoot. The birch could react sensitively to this and reduce its overall growth.
- In the peripheral area, always cut the thicker branches and leave the thinner ones.
- However, thicker branches may remain near the trunk.
- With this approach, the cut is hardly noticeable and you get the natural growth habit.
The right time to cut the tree
If you decide to prune the birch in your garden, don't start indiscriminately. Wait until late fall. Frost-free days are best for pruning. At this point the birch is at a standstill: the leaves have been shed, it absorbs less water and no longer pumps it with all its might into the tips.
On the other hand, if you cut the birch in spring while the pumping system is running at full speed, your tree will start crying. In this case, larger amounts of water actually run out of the tree at the interfaces. It is not clear whether this harms the tree per se. To be on the safe side, only experienced gardeners should use this variant.