Pruning branches that obstruct light absorption during shemitah
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We need to prune the trees at our school in Jerusalem. The school has a solar energy system, and there are branches that obstruct the light from reaching the panels, which garbles the system.
Furthermore, branches might fall during the winter and destroy the system. Can we prune these branches?
Rabbi Netanel Oyerbach
When the purpose of the pruning is not to encourage growth, but rather to prevent damage from the branches, it is permitted providing that it is apparent that the pruning is not performed to encourage growth. For this reason, the tree should not be pruned professionally, and bumps should be left on the branches removed.