The number one way to keep a tree healthy is by pruning. Pruning is the selective removal of parts of a tree in order to shape the tree, improve tree health, and reduce the risk of falling branches.

Why is pruning important?

Pruning provides both cosmetic and structural benefits to trees, increasing property values and enhancing the beauty of your yard. When trees are young, the primary goal of pruning is to provide a strong structure to support future growth. As trees mature, pruning goals change from structural considerations to encouragement of energy production and beauty. For mature trees, emphasis is placed on removing branches that do not contribute significantly to energy production, thereby channeling the tree’s energy into stronger remaining branches. Pruning also is important when considering hazard reduction and safety. If dead and defective limbs are present in the trees, they need to be removed as soon as possible before they fail.

What is the best time of year to prune?

Although it all depends on your pruning objectives, most trees can be pruned year-round, if pruned properly. Surprisingly, winter can often be the best time for an arborist to prune. Since the leaves are off, the view of the entire tree’s architecture is clear and a thorough check can be performed. They can locate dead wood by looking for changes in branch color, fungus growth, cracks, and other symptoms that can help them make this determination.

How often will my trees need to be pruned?

Trees should have dead wood pruned out regularly, at least once per year. In addition there may be special circumstances which require pruning. For example, if you are planning new construction on your property, pruning may be required before construction to ensure that the roots of the tree won’t be torn or damaged due to construction.

What are the proper pruning techniques?

Pruning a tree correctly requires knowledge and skill. Each pruning style is different and suited for a specific area. Pruning techniques include:

  • Maintenance tree pruning- Removing dead, dying, diseased, crossing branches.
  • Hazard reduction tree pruning- Larger deadwood is removed for safety.
  • Vista tree pruning- Selectively removing limbs without injuring the tree in order to reveal a previously blocked view.
  • Crown Raising- Removing lower branches, most commonly in areas where there is a driveway, walk-way, or parking area.