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Hard (ish) pruning of a weeping birch

Hi everyone.

I have a client with a  weeping birch that has 5 or six branches growing vertically (so not very weeping), he wants these pruned back hard to where the weeping format is. 

the weeping part of the tree is approx 3.6 meters, the verticle branches are wrist thick where the client wants them cut and probly 1.5 to 2 meters in length to come off.

I told him these dhould have been done late winter before the sap rises as they will bleed and could get infections in the wounds.Any advice is welcome,

Would the tree be ok, is there anything I can put on the wounds. it was planted by his late father and I do not want to kill it, I would rather leave it until next year but it is unsightly.


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  • I would do it. Would maybe try and wait a month or so but to do it now will be ok. Do nice tidy cuts to the branch collars and don't put anything on the wounds. People make wine from birch sap and tap the trees deliberately and they survive.

    • Thanks John, the client likes a good drink now and then  so if he found out about the winemaking he would have me cutting a branch a week off..

      That is very helpful, Looks like I wil lhave to order a new pruning saw as my old little one is not up to this and I wouldnt want to use a bow saw, plus its awkward to get in.

      I will take most of it off with the pole saw and finish off with the pruning saw.

      . It will be about 2 weeks until I can fit this job  in anyway so might stretch it a bit longer.

    • Morning John, I don't disagree with you at all, and I'm not trying to catch you out. Why do you say to do it in a months time, not now? 

      • just a bit more midsummerish, a bit further away from the spring growth time. No big deal, just my opinion.  I suppose it's how I'd think if it was my own tree and I was completely free to do it whenever I chose. If I was really being fussy perhaps I might rather not do it in a time of drought. But in the world of work, when clients want things done yesterday, I would do that job now with a clear conscience.  And to Paul, that saw sounds fine, will probably get into tight spaces very well. If you did buy a pruning saw you can't beat Silky. The little folding ones are great.

    • Hi John.

      rather than buy a new pruning saw is there anything wrong with using my battery recipricocal saw with a fine tooth blade 300mm long (I already have them) this gives lovely accurate straight cuts on fencing materials and have used many times on tree or shrub removals  where a chainsaw is awkward or dangerous to get into, I would wipe the blade down  to remove oil

      .I dont do much pruning work apart from loppers or secateurs and probably wouldnt use the pruning saw for another 3 or 4 years.

      • PRO

        I have a recip saw for demo work on decks etc. I agree the cut is neat but where it leaves the cut they tend to rip (or at least my 36v hikoki one does) so I wouldn't. I would get as near above where you want to finish with the pole saw as you can. Wrist thick won't take long to cut with a pruning saw.


        • Mine (a bosch)is mainly used for demolition of decking and fencing as well Seth, however i also have some fine teeth blades and can use the orbital setting so it is less aggresive a cut, 

          I hate buying cheap rubbish so if I bought a pruning saw it would be 40 quid plus to sit in the garage for 3 or 4 years, I have a cherry tree to take out this week so will try it on that first and see if it rips .

          on another subject, most of my battery power tools (not gardening) are Bosch  but they do not do a nail gun so I bought a Hitachi/Hikoki one after reading reviews, what a fantastic bit of kit , far better for vibraion than the Dewalt battery nailer. 2 jams in about 10000 nails and battery lasts for ever.

          Hikoki seem to have stepped up a gear,

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