Birch Tree trimming and shaping

Asked September 10, 2015, 11:57 AM EDT

We have 3 White Birch trees planted together on the edge of our front lawn. The tallest is about 50'. There are branches going everywhere. We need to trim and shape the trees. When would be the best time to do this? We don't want them over pruned as they offer shade and beauty. How do we find the best business to do this work? Thank you for your advice. Bill and Ginger Judd

Jackson County Oregon

1 Response

Sometimes, pruning to reduce the size and shape of a tree is one of the least beneficial actions to take, as far as the tree's health is concerned. If you are removing crossing branches or dead wood or weak shoots, such moderate actions will be beneficial. Most experts recommend that deciduous trees such as birch be pruned when they are totally dormant. All leaves should be off and the weather should be cold. If you wait until spring, you risk the tree sapping copiously where branches are cut. Be advised that trees that are heavily pruned after long periods of neglect where much wood needs to be removed are prone to produce an outburst of many weak and thin new shoots in the following spring. Such growth should be removed as it appears, rather than waiting for the next dormant season. A discussion of pruning do's and don'ts can found in the local OSU Master Gardener publication, Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley, Ornamental Trees and Shrubs It is available at the OSU Extension Office, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point, or in many local nurseries and garden stores.
As far as finding an arborist to do the work, you are advised to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with the trees. Then contact a member of the profession who is a Certified Arborist and ask for some references that you can check out. Avoid any who want to "top" the trees.Good luck with your project.