Cottonwood Tree Pruning Tips

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If you planted some quick-growing cottonwood trees in your backyard, then it is important that you know how to properly prune them at the end of each winter season while they are in their dormant state. 

To keep your cottonwood trees looking great and staying healthy for years to come, follow these pruning tips:

Sterilize Your Pruners and Saws

Before you start to prune the cottonwood trees in your backyard, first you need to sterilize your saw blades and pruners by wiping them down with a clean rag dipped in rubbing alcohol. Sterilization is necessary to prevent the entrance of fungal spores and bacteria that will make your tree ill.

In order to prevent cross-contamination between the different trees in your yard, take the time to sterilize your tools between each tree that you prune.  

Prune and Seal-Off All Crossing Branches and Tree Overgrowth

When tree branches cross and rub in the wind, the outer bark wears off and leaves an entry wound on the tree where bacteria and fungus spores can get into the inner wood and make the tree sick. For this reason, you need to remove all branches that cross over each other or will otherwise rub against each other when the wind blows.

When you cut branches off of your cottonwood tree, leave about an inch of the the growth attached to its parent branch or the tree's trunk. This bit of remaining branch will give the tree a smaller area that it has to heal. This helps to reduce the overall stress on the tree from having been pruned.

To promote the fast healing of your tree, you should paint black tar in the areas where you have pruned it. The tar acts like the tree's natural sap and helps keep the tree from draining its own stored energy to heal itself from its wounds. The tar compound also prevents fungus and disease from entering into the tree. 

Chip or Burn the Removed Branches

Finally, the best thing you can do with the cottonwood tree branches that you have pruned off is to chip them in a wood chipper. You can add the chips into your compost pile, vegetable garden, or use it as mulch around landscaping.

The soft wood of this type of tree makes it smoke and smolder rather than burn hot like hardwood trees such as oak and juniper will. If you want to burn the cottonwood branches you remove, then you should burn them in combination with a harder wood to help create a hotter fire that will force the cottonwood to burn more cleanly.

For further assistance, go to sites like this for professional help.