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Tree Pruning and Removal

Tree pruning is very important in the life of a tree, and should be considered routine maintenance for trees of all ages. Tree pruning often times begins in the nursery before a tree is even dug and transplanted to its new home. This is called establishment pruning and is done to establish the main leader and proper scaffolding branches and eliminate potential problems later with the overall form of the tree. Establishment pruning should take place even after the tree has been transplanted up until it has been in the ground for up to ten years. This is often times overlooked, since the tree is small, and people believe it needs no maintenance. The opposite is true actually, and the long term development of a good branching structure starts now.

As a tree matures, it is important to prune on a regular basis. Pruning is recommended every three to five years, depending on the species and rate of growth. We prune trees for the following reasons:

  • Tree Health. During pruning, deadwood is removed which takes stress off the tree. A tree will shed the deadwood on its own, but it takes a lot of energy from its stored reserves. When we prune out deadwood, the tree can use that energy elsewhere, like photosynthesis and creating more of its own plant food. Also, a well pruned tree will be thinned in order to have air circulation and light penetration into the inner canopy. This helps to avoid a dark, moist environment where insect and disease thrive.
  • Safety. Often times large trees can have dead or declining branches that are weak and ready to fall each time the wind blows. If these branches are over a home, parking lot, playground, or backyard, then accidents can happen. For reasons of responsibility and liability, these branches should be pruned out.
  • Aesthetics. A well pruned tree will appear to be much more aesthetically pleasing, and can add to the overall beauty of your home and landscape. This is true with large shade trees as well as the low growing flowering ornamentals.

Keep in mind that most trees can be pruned at any time of year, however certain species like Oak and Elm trees should be pruned only during the dormant season to avoid the spread of insect activity and the spread of deadly fungal diseases like Oak Wilt and Dutch Elm Disease.

Of course, we have a healthy respect for trees, and we are in the business of caring for and preserving them, however, occasionally trees need to be removed. Tree removal is recommended when a tree is dead, dying, or considered to be a potential risk. Tree removal should never be taken lightly since the tree owner and the surrounding community loses the full functionality and environmental services that the tree provides.

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