It’s important to have all the right kit for tidying up and pruning trees at this time of year. Sharpened secateurs, shears, pruning saws and sturdy gloves are a must. There are many trees that need to be cut back now, before the new year, or you’ll run the risk of them producing unsightly bleeding from their pruning cuts due to ‘rising’ sap, which, if it keeps happening, may affect the health of the tree.
Trees such as magnolia, birch, maple and hornbeam are dormant now and can be trimmed before their sap levels increase in a few weeks. Anything in the prunus species can be left to spring or summer. A good tip when removing larger tree branches is to make an undercut with a pruning saw, and then finish with an overcut, but be sure not to cut completely flush to the trunk. These large offcuts can’t be composted and are best shredded, made into beneficial woodpiles for wildlife, dried and used on the hearth, or put on a bonfire.
If you have a reliable green waste service and just wish to be rid of all your prunings, dispose of it all in that way. Smaller stems and twigs can be chopped up manually and put on the compost heap or perhaps distributed as a neat, weed suppressing mulch on borders.