Asked October 23, 2020, 6:16 AM EDT

Hi. I have a shag bark hickory that needs pruning but not sure how to go about it with branches being on one side

Ulster County New York

5 Responses

Without seeing the tree, it is very difficult to make any suggestions. Usually deciduous trees just need dead or crossing branches pruned and any lower branches that get in the way when mowing or doing other activities around them.

I posted some pictures so I hope this helps. The picture with the truck to the left, that picture is taking from the north

The pictures of the tree are very dark and I cannot see the branch structure clearly. Are you concerned that there are branches more on one side than the other and for aesthetic reasons you want the tree to look even? I am not sure what pruning concerns you have. Are the branches too low and causing problems or is it just how the tree looks? What happened to the branches on the other side? Were they removed when the plant was smaller? The bottom line is that there really is no plant health reason to remove the branches but if you feel that they make the tree look awkward, feel free to remove them.

The tree is starting to lean to where all the branches are and I’m hoping that pruning will take some weight off that side. I like the tree and I don’t want to have to take it down because it’s got too much lean as it’s growing. The tree has been like that since I moved here three years ago

That would be a fine reason to prune. Late winter is the best time to prune for tree health reasons (the tree can start its healing process over the growing season) but realistically you can prune at any time. Do not prune so the cut is flat against the tree; leave the branch collar.