The Art of Bobbing: Info & Tips on Pruning of Trees


Growth in the right way always yields good results. We go to salons every now and then to ensure good growth of our hair. If we do not pay attention to it and let it grow, obviously, the quality of the hair would decline and they won’t seem pretty too. Likewise, I remember my mother cutting the stem of plants in our terrace garden every month. As a child, I always wondered as to why did she cut it? But now I know the answer. It was basically done to remove the non-productive or dead parts. This process is called “pruning”.

Pruning is the process of selective removal of parts of plants like buds, branches or roots. There are many reasons to it including deadwood removal, shaping, improving or maintaining their health, preparing nursery specimens for transplanting and increasing yields or quality of flowers and fruits. The practice mainly targets the removal of diseased, dead or non productive parts of the plants and trees. It is usually considered better and is preferable to do formative structural pruning in young plants rather than removing poorly placed branches from mature plants. Convenient removing of any part of the tree for sunlight or parking purpose is NOT pruning but being selfish and unethical

The training of young plants should begun early to avoid future problems. Once a good framework has been established, the pruning practices for the remainder of the life of individual trees are usually limited to what is known as “maintenance pruning”. During the process of pruning, it should be kept in mind to not to remove more than one-fifth of the tree crown in a given year to avoid stressing the plant or stimulating unwanted regrowth. Hence, pruning should be done in a judicious manner. Pruning is allowed until and unless it does not damages the tree.

In a city like Delhi, at times the trees in neighbourhood dwell into the house either from the windows or the balconies. The branches or leaves are usually what enter buildings, as a rightful claim of space. However, residents often face issues like entry of insects living on the branch as well as issues like blocking of sunlight in winters are also very common. Some branches tangle with the electrical lines while others block traffic signals. According to The Delhi Preservation of Tree Act,1994, pruning of big trees requires the written permission from the Forest department, officials of which first physically inspect the trees. Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this Act can be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both.

I believe pruning of trees should be only done to bring life to the dead parts of the plant or tree, and not to make them life-less. Many people, rather than cutting the branch or stem entering in their houses or complex, cut the tree entirely for their convenience. Such people neither understand nor appreciate the importance of a tree and the large number of ecosystem services it provides to us. Pruning is an art and it makes the plants and trees look lovely and hence saves their lives too. Warren Buffet once said, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long time ago.” So, do not ever think of cutting a tree. If you really think a tree is bothering you, resort to pruning to beautify the trees and plants around instead of removing them completely. Please note that cutting of trees is a criminal offense.

Image by Ozpix via Flickr


Ritika Kapoor

Ritika Kapoor is a researcher at the Euro Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change, Bologna, Italy with advanced degrees from Furgusson College, Pune and University of Delhi.

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