Pruning a tree is not the same as “cutting limbs”. An educated, experienced arborist only removes limbs for specific reasons. Some reasons to prune a tree might include dead limbs, broken limbs, crossing or interfering limbs, or limbs that are encroaching on structures or wires. Most trees do not need to be “shaped”, or cut to a symmetrical shape. Pruning must be done with an understanding of tree biology. Improper pruning can create lasting damage or even shorten the tree’s life.
Tree “topping” is an antiquated practice, that involves cutting a tree canopy back to a small size, and forcing the tree to re-sprout to survive. Topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known.
Learn more about why topping hurts trees.
Deciding which limbs to prune is only half the battle. It is very important that each limb is pruned at the appropriate place, with the appropriate tool, using the right technique, and at the proper time of year. An ISA Certified Arborist has been trained in pruning trees the right way, and All About Trees has Certified Arborists on the crews, actually doing the work.
Sometimes tree pruning can be performed from a bucket truck, when there is good access to the tree, and the canopy is wide open allowing the bucket operator to move the arm of the boom throughout the canopy. Often tree pruning must be done by tree climbers, when there is no bucket truck access, or when the tree is too dense to move the bucket around in the interior of the canopy. When pruning a tree by climbing, using the appropriate safety equipment is a must.
All About Trees trains all crew members to climb safely using approved equipment and techniques. We never wear spikes or hooks on our boots when we are pruning a tree, only on removals. Spikes cause deep wounds in the stem of the tree, and can cause disease or decay problems. Our arborist can determine the type of pruning necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance, and safety of trees. Please call the office of All About Trees at (417)863-6214 to set up a free estimate!
Explanations of common pruning types:
This is the removal of dead, broken, and crossing limbs, sucker sprouts on trunks, and weak or diseased limbs. We will specify the size of dead limbs to remove; usually one inch diameter and larger. The purpose of the crown clean is to improve structure, appearance and health. The outside appearance of the canopy will be affected very little.
Crown Raising is the process of raising the lower limbs of a tree by pruning them upwards, or pruning them back to the main trunk as desired. We will specify the height to the outside of the canopy, such as ten to twelve feet from the ground and five to six feet off of the house.
This is a reduction in the height and/or spread of a tree by pruning back the tips of the limbs. This procedure is only for soft-wooded trees such as a Bradford Pear, since they are the most prone to break in a storm. It is best to cut back to a secondary limb with a proper cut, except on Bradford Pears. We treat these trees like a bush and cut back to a symmetrical shape.