Top 4 Reasons Your Trees Need Pruning

Frequently we get asked, “how often should I have my trees pruned?” Trees are a product of their genetics and the environment they grow in. They need favourable conditions to thrive, survive and become long lived old trees. They also need to develop a strong well balanced structure to stand the test of time. We can help trees become as strong as possible through pruning. To help understand when you should prune, let’s break down some of the common reasons that homeowners need tree pruning services.

1. DEVELOP GOOD STRUCTURE

One of the primary reasons for pruning is to promote strong healthy structure, and it begins very early. In fact, by the time you purchase a tree from a nursery, it will have likely been pruned several times to encourage proper form. The most important advice we can give for your trees to develop and maintain strong structure is CONSISTENCY. Frequent pruning sessions mean smaller diameter cuts which are much less invasive to your trees. Have a qualified Arborist develop a pruning cycle for your trees.

2. MAINTAIN SAFETY

Safety is at the forefront of tree care. We prune to remove dead, weak, diseased, imbalanced or potentially problematic branches, this is known as maintenance pruning or cleaning. Maintenance pruning can be done any time of year as needed. It’s important to be mindful of the condition of your trees because you’re actually legally liable to keep the trees located on your property safe. Get into the habit of examining your trees thoroughly, and get in touch with your Arborist if you spot a problem.

Tree Pruning

3. FOR PROPER CLEARANCE

Trees can grow fast. We often prune trees to clear obstacles such as a roof or shed. Sometimes we remove lower lateral branches for overhead clearance or to create more space for sunshine, this is called crown elevation or canopy raising. Pruning for clearance can generally be done any time of the year and as needed.

4. THINNING

Overly thick trees can act as sails in strong winds, create favourable conditions for fungus and insects and cast undesirable shade. Proper thinning can reduce these problems. Sometimes we thin trees simply for the purpose of aesthetics, and just like a good haircut, there is value in thinning for beauty. But be careful, over thinning can cause more damage than good. As a rule of thumb no more than 20% of overall canopy should be cut in a single pruning dosage, but this can vary depending on tree species, age, time of year and even weather. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of hiring an experienced qualified Arborist for your tree thinning.

Most trees, regardless of age, will benefit from yearly pruning, but the main take away here is consistency. Pruning causes permanent effects in trees so remember to always hire a qualified experienced Arborist. Most problems we see people experiencing with their trees are because they have never been pruned or they were pruned incorrectly.

Preventative VS Reactive Tree Care

Trees are awe inspiring, period! My fascination with them is endless. Majestic, enduring even mysterious would be words I use to describe them. In fact there are still things we don’t know about them and our understanding of them continues to grow each day.

But there is something we definitely do know about Trees, and that is simply, that they do require regular maintenance. Especially so, in an urban environment. This brings me to a question I frequently get asked:

How often should I have an Arborist look at my trees?

The truth is, this question cannot be directly answered without specifically assessing a given tree. Every tree has a different set of needs. Some trees may need seasonal care, others may require less or more, but regular routine tree maintenance is key. All the tree maintenance we get contracted to do can generally be categorized in to two groups.

  1. REACTIVE TREE CARE
  2. PREVENTATIVE TREE CARE

Reactive tree care occurs after a tree has developed a serious problem.  This often takes place in trees that have not been regularly maintained and are well into their maturity stage. Reactive tree care tends to be more invasive to a tree. Trees, like us, tend to be more “set in their ways” as they age, so symptoms such as largely overgrown or cracked limbs, heavy girdling roots, included bark or weak main unions become very difficult to correct. In addressing these issues, reactive tree care usually results in having to remove large portions of the tree and in many cases, unfortunately, equals the removal of an entire tree.

 

Trees, like us, tend to be more “set in their ways” as they age

 

Preventative tree care, on the other hand, is caring for your trees on a regular basis before a problem develops. Frequent tree maintenance means smaller less invasive cuts to the tree and promotes healthy, happy, long lived trees. It is important to implement a regular tree maintenance schedule as early into the life of a tree as possible. A skilled Arborist can spot and correct problematic growth before it develops and help trees to establish a well-balanced canopy. Routine preventative tree maintenance can also be more cost effective in the long run versus reactive large limb cutting or entire tree removal.

 

A skilled Arborist can spot and correct problematic growth before it develops