“Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure. Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature’s pruning… landscape trees require a higher level of care to maintain their safety and aesthetics. Pruning should be done with an understanding of how the tree responds to each cut. Improper pruning can cause damage that will last the life of the tree or worse… shorten the tree’s life”. ISA
There is a lot more to “Proper Pruning” than meets the eye!
Its not just a matter of grabbing a saw and start chopping away. Unless of course you don’t want a tree any more! It takes many years to grow a decent size tree. It takes less than five minutes to ruin it forever. If you don’t know what you are doing… and want to preserve your tree, it would be best for you to call Jones Tree & Lawn, Inc. to do the pruning for you.
When we prune trees there are some basic goals we try to strive for. First is the overall health of the tree. Dead limbs, broken limbs and branch stubs should be pruned out. This allows the tree to compartmentalize or close the wound. Next we look for crossing limbs; limbs that have been allowed to grow over the top of another creating wounds as they rub each other. We look for limbs with included bark or other defects. We try to promote good branch scaffolding. Then we do selective thinning out on the ends of branches. This allows for sunlight to penetrate throughout the crown of the tree in order to keep interior branches alive. Selective thinning also helps reduce the potential for storm damage.
Once the health needs of a tree are met… we turn to the “Human Needs”
Safety is always a concern. Trees can be gigantic in size and weigh tons. The potential of limbs or entire trees falling always exists. The presence of decay and other structural defects need to be identified and remedial action taken. In some cases a large limb may need to be removed. A crotch with included bark may need to be cabled to help keep it from splitting. In worse cases the tree may need to be removed. No tree is worth a human life… and sometimes removing the tree is the only option.
One thing we don’t believe in is “Shaping” trees. Shaping involves cutting back the terminal growth in an attempt to create a shape that is not natural. Whenever terminal limbs are cut back you force the tree to grow right where you made the cut. So now instead of having a single branch, you now have two to five branches sprouting at one location. As time passes, each of these new sprouts will grow longer and in turn cause more shading to the interior of the tree and increase the potential for storm damage. “Shaping” completely defeats the purpose of what we described above. Most trees with few exceptions, are not meant to be perfectly round. Like people… they all have their own shape. Our job is to keep them healthy, enhance the overall appearance, and try to keep them safe to live with.
Many people judge a pruning job by the amount of brush that Hits the Ground
It’s like pruning by the pound! I like to think that quality pruning is similar to brain surgery. “Please take out only what is necessary and leave the rest”.
The absolute worse thing to do a tree is to “top” them. Topping is the indiscriminate cutting back of tree branches to stubs, or laterals that are to small to assume the terminal role. Topping opens wood to decay and causes excessive sprouting. In some cases it outright kills the tree. It reduces the trees ability to produce food, and if it lives… the tree is now more susceptible to falling apart. A common reason given by homeowners for wanting their tree topped is that they think it’s too big. Each species of tree is genetically designed to grow to a certain size. If it’s really too large for an area… or if you just don’t feel safe around it, then perhaps removing the tree should be considered. Topping it will just make it more dangerous in the future… and it’s just not right.
Know your Limitations!
Pruning small trees is not a difficult task if you have the right tools. There are several good references available to guide you through the process. If you have to get out a ladder to prune… you may want to think twice. Professional arborists rarely trim from a ladder. It is very dangerous. How much money will it cost you if you should fall and seriously injure yourself? Chances are it would cost you much more than it would cost to have the tree trimmed by a professional. Trimming larger trees should be done by the pros. We have the equipment, knowledge and training to do the job right.
When choosing an arborist make certain that they are licensed and insured. Ask if they have ISA certified arborists on the staff… and if the crewmembers are trained by them. Beware of companies that use terms like topping, rounding-over, and tipping. Don’t be afraid to ask for references… or at least a location where you can drive by and see the quality of their work. Remember: you get what you pay for… and the cheapest price is rarely a deal.
It has been said that Tree Pruning is an Art and Science
This statement is true. You have to know how trees respond to pruning in order to do the job right. A properly pruned tree is a work of art! Trees respond to pruning in either a positive or negative way. Every pruning cut has an impact for the life of the tree. Make your cuts wisely.
Jones Tree & Lawn, Inc. has been serving the Denver Metro area since 1988. We are totally equipped and staffed with ISA certified arborists. Give us a call at 303-431-8132 to schedule your free tree pruning estimate.