Proper Pruning

Why Prune?

Improper pruning can cause damage that will last for the life of the tree, or worse, shorten the tree’s life. In most cases, it is better not to prune than to do it incorrectly. More trees are killed or ruined each year from improper pruning than by pests.


Common reasons for pruning

  • Remove Dead Branches
  • Remove Crowded or Rubbing Limbs
  • Eliminate Hazards
  • Increase Light and Air Penetration to the Inside of the Tree’s Crown or to the Landscape Below

The Procedure

Depending on the size of your tree, our arborists will climb it and will complete one or more of the following types of pruning:

  • Crown Cleaning – The removal of all dead, dying, diseased, crowded, weakly attached, and low-vigor branches from the crown of the tree using proper cuts.
  • Thinning – Selective pruning to reduce the density of live branches to increase light penetration and air movement. This technique opens the foliage of a tree, reduces weight on heavy limbs, and helps retain the tree’s natural shape. This type of pruning may increase the tree’s safety during strong winds because air flow between branches is increased.
  • Raising – The removal the lower branches from a tree in order to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and vistas.
  • Reduction – Reduces the size of a tree, often for clearance for utility lines. Compared to topping, reduction helps maintain the form and structural integrity of the tree.

When to Prune

Most routine pruning to remove weak, diseased, or dead limbs can be accomplished at any time during the year with little effect on the tree. However, growth is maximized and wound closure is fastest if pruning takes place before the spring. Trees should be pruned on a regular basis, about every seven years.

More information about proper pruning can be found at:



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