News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
When you think of an arborist, or a tree care service, you probably think of just cutting down trees. While tree removal is definitely a large part of what we do, it’s not the only thing; we offer a variety of services, the most popular of which is pruning.
Pruning may sound a little anticlimactic, like a service best saved for landscapers and lawn mowers, but pruning in the arboreal world is much, much more than just trimming back some bushes. Pruning a tree is used to help a tree continue to grow healthily, whether we’re thinning out the branches so the canopy doesn’t get overcrowded or cutting away dead limbs to prevent a fall that could result in property damage or injury. Healthy trees are happy trees, and we are in the business of keeping trees happy!
Why Would A Tree Need to Be Pruned?
There are a wide range of reasons why any given tree could use a good pruning. On the whole, pruning is used to improve the health of a tree and increase its chances of survival. On a smaller scale, pruning can also enhance a tree’s visual appeal to more attractively fit in with your property.
Smaller dead branches, though they may not seem like a big deal (especially if they aren’t an eyesore), still pose a hefty threat to the health of your tree. Once that limb starts decaying, it will turn into a breeding ground for a wide range of fungus, insects, and small animals. These pests can easily spread, causing damage and wreaking havoc on an otherwise perfectly healthy tree.
While dead and dying limbs are a very good reason to prune, sometimes, even healthy limbs could do with some pruning. Here in Georgia, we are prone to a range of inclement weather, from tornado warnings to hail to thunderstorms; with summer right around the corner, heavy summer rain is on its way, and any of these conditions can easily cause a heavy, protruding limb to fall from its tree.
Another reason to prune is to correct improper growth and help guide the tree into a growing pattern that is healthier and more sustainable. Trees can sometimes start growing all sorts of ways, whether it’s off to the left, bent over, or a little twisty, and all of these can cause significant issues for the tree down the road. Sometimes, trees split down the middle and start growing in two directions, in which case it will definitely need either pruning or cabling. In any of these situations, the best course of action is to prune so that the tree can return to a healthier growth pattern and live a long, happy life.
Though the best time to prune is often in the fall or winter, when most trees have gone dormant for the cold weather, some trees may benefit from pruning in spring or summer.
The Four Main Pruning Techniques
When pruning a tree, there are four main methods your friendly neighborhood arborist will use:
Cleaning is used to remove dead, dying, diseased, sickly, weakly-attached, or low-vigor branches from the crown of a tree.
Thinning involves selective branch removal calculated to improve the tree’s overall structure, increase light penetration for photosynthesis, reduce canopy weight and prevent overcrowding to mitigate the risk of limb failure, and even just to help the tree retain its natural shape.
Raising is the removal of the lower branches of a tree to allow for traffic or structures below, such as a shed, a vista, pedestrians on a sidewalk, or even a house.
Reduction reduces the overall size of a tree by incorporating all three of the above while maintaining the structural integrity and form of the tree.
The Golden Rule of Pruning
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when pruning a tree is pruning too much. According to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), no more than one-quarter of a tree’s crown should be removed at any one time. If you prune away too much of the tree’s canopy, not only does it become structurally unstable, but it also often means the tree can’t get enough nutrients to sustain itself, since most of its leaves live in the canopy. This rule is especially important in a tree under stress, which basically means a tree that is already experiencing other problems such as fungal infestation, pests, structural deficiencies, or overcrowding.
Pruning is a vital service to keep your trees happy and healthy. If you think your trees might need pruning, we recommend you have a certified arborist come check everything out and decide whether or not any work needs to be done. If you’d like to schedule a free estimate with us, contact us to schedule your appointment today! To learn more about our free estimates, click here.
And remember, no matter how you’re pruning, what you’re pruning, or why you’re pruning it, never prune too much!
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.