Like every other living organism, trees grow and change over time. They start as a tiny seed, turning into a sapling and spreading its roots until it finally grows into a big tree you can swing a tire off of. However, a road to a grown, mature tree is a really slow one. It will take decades for a sapling to turn into a mighty oak or a chestnut you often see in people’s backyards.
But what if you want to speed up the process? What would it take for your tree to grow a little bit faster than it did before? Is pruning enough? Do you need to trim it, as well? The answer to that and all the other questions – you’ll find right below.
How Does A Tree Grow?
To fully understand whether pruning makes them grow faster, we must first understand how saplings become fully grown trees. And, to fully understand that, we must look at another plant, grass, and its growth pattern.
Like many other plants, grass grows from the bottom. When it breaks out from the ground, it grows upwards from near the Earth, and no matter how many times you cut the grass blade (which we do), the grass continues growing upwards. It recovers from the ground up, creating new cells each day, but if you were to take a look at the top where the blade was cut – it remains the same.
For trees, it’s quite the opposite. Unlike grass, trees grow from the top, meaning if you cut them in half – you’d kill a tree. At that point, you might as well find the nearest tree removal service and get them to remove it from the ground.
Now, every tree has these areas called meristems, locations where specialized growth cells reside, and it is at these locations that tree growth occurs – both vertically and horizontally. In other words, both the main body and the branches all grow from dedicated spots.
Knowing that we can move on to pruning.
What Is Pruning?
Pruning is one of the integral parts of tree maintenance, both healthy and looks-wise. In some ways, pruning facilitates the natural growth and regeneration of trees, helping it preserve and improve both the trunk and the crown. Additionally, pruning helps wean off potential diseases and parasites.
Pruning is often done yearly, sometimes even twice, but contrary to popular belief, it is not done solely for cosmetic purposes. As we’ve just said, it helps maintain health and promote natural growth, but probably not in the way most people think.
How And When Should You Prune A Tree?
Arguably the most important thing about pruning is knowing how and when to do it. You’ll need proper skills and tools, but more importantly, you’ll need to know-how, and to a degree, when to prune a tree.
As for tools, you’ll either need manual tools like scissors or electricity or petrol-powered ones like telescopic pruners, depending on the size and age of the tree. We delve too much into details, but if you want to read more about it – feel free to do so.
When it comes to “when”, the only real thing to remember is that there is no “right time”. Each species is special on its own, so the actual time may vary a bit, but as a general rule of thumb, you’d probably do it somewhere between spring and fall.
Finally, you’ll have to learn how to prune. Now, there are many different techniques depending on the type of tree, its age, or what you’re trying to accomplish. However, as a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to cut at a 45-degree angle about 6-7 mm away, or better yet, above the bud. That way, you’ll leave meristems unscathed and allow the plant to recover.
Knowing all this, we can now probably answer the question at hand.
Does Pruning Trees Make Them Grow Faster?
No. Pruning does not make trees grow faster. Pruning helps prevent diseases and parasites, it may strengthen the tree and facilitate healthy growth, but it won’t make a tree grow faster. In fact, fertilizing is the only efficient way to make a tree grow faster. Everything else is more or less ineffective.
How Does Fertilizing Help Trees Grow Faster?
Just like with any other plant, it is fertilizing that makes the tree grow faster. Not only will fertilizing help a tree grow faster, but it will also help it grow taller, stronger, and healthier. Fertilizing will enrich the soil with all the essential nutrients a sapling needs to grow into a strong tree.
Various chemical compounds like nitrogen, potassium, and of course, phosphorous help the plants synthesize chlorophyll, allowing them to grow bigger and stronger. Naturally, you wouldn’t just fertilize the soil with just any kind of fertilizer, so make sure to test it and nurture it with essential nutrients it lacks so that a tree can make the most of it.
Should You Prune Or Fertilize Your Tree At All?
Knowing all this, and knowing that trees had developed and grown strong on their own before we knew how to prune and fertilize them, the question arises – should we even bother with it?
The answer is yes. Back in the day, the Earth was much healthier. Therefore, it was much easier for anything to just grow out of it. However, that is no longer the case, so we must do our part to help restore what we destroyed.
If you want your tree to grow big, strong and healthy – you should absolutely both prune and fertilize it.
We may have shattered your dreams of growing a tall, large tree in just a few years, relying just on pruning, but we certainly hope we haven’t discouraged you from ever planting one.
We need trees, and we need a lot of them – no matter how long it takes for them to grow. They make our lives better. They filter the air we breathe, they provide us with a shade on a sunny day, and their trunks have for years been the place where we’d etch the proof of our undying love, so please – plant a tree and watch it slowly grow.