The best time to prune shade trees is when they are young. With careful trimming, you can ensure that a tree looks good and has a healthy and evenly spaced canopy that doesn't cast too much shade. Once a tree has matured, trimming to reduce shade becomes more difficult, as the tree is larger and taller and thus more of a safety hazard.
The best thing to do when reducing the shade of a mature tree is to hire a professional. They have the tools and experience to get the job done safely and efficiently. A tree professional, such as an arborist, can use one or both of the following trimming techniques to reduce the shade cast by a mature tree.
1. Thinning the canopy
One way of reducing the shade cast by a large tree is to remove branches from the canopy. This trimming technique not only removes shade but also helps mature trees to thrive. A packed canopy often occurs when trees received little to no selective pruning to improve structure at a young age. As a result, the canopy is thick and full of branches that compete for sunlight and air.
And thick canopies can cause the soil below to become boggy or dry, which prevents gardening. But don't attempt to thin your trees' canopies alone. If you remove more than 25% of a tree's canopy, you could damage its ability to take in sunlight and convert it into food. A good tree professional knows how much and where to prune when thinning a canopy.
2. Limbing up the canopy
Tree professionals also refer to this technique as crown lifting. Very low canopies are another sign of a lack of pruning at an early age. Low canopies cast complete shade over the ground below, making gardening all but impossible. A tree professional can limb up your trees by removing the lowest branches. This raises the crown and thus reduces the shade cast over the ground below.
But again, don't carry out this technique yourself unless you have training in tree branch removal as removing too much could leave your tree vulnerable to diseases and pests.
If your mature trees are preventing you from gardening or enjoying your yard the way you want to, then consider hiring a tree trimming service. With their training and knowledge, a tree professional can use one of these techniques to reduce the shade in your yard without harming your trees.