Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure, and it is often necessary for maintaining safety, improving tree structure, or making a tree more aesthetically pleasing. While trees that grow in a natural forest environment “self-prune” as needed, pruning of landscape trees requires a higher level of care and diligence to maintain overall health, structural integrity, and aesthetics.
You may be wondering how to determine if a tree would benefit from pruning. While routine selective pruning is recommended every 3-5 years as a means of proactively maintaining overall health and structure, there are five common objectives that often determine exactly when a tree needs to be pruned.
- Reduce Risk: Branch, stem, or even whole tree failure can be influenced by many different factors including the type of tree, location, size, or existing defects. Pruning is the most common way to mitigate against this risk, particularly on young trees that have not developed an established branch architecture.
- Manage tree health: Pruning for health removes branches that are infested, infected, damaged, or rubbing. This leads to overall improvement in tree health and canopy composition, subsequently reducing the chances for foliar disease, pest infestation, and tree decline. Reducing crown density – or “thinning” to increase wind and light penetration – can also be completed to support overall tree health.
- Provide clearance: In the built landscape, trees can interfere with activities, infrastructure, traffic, and lines-of-sight. Clearance pruning eliminates these conflicts while preserving the tree and ensuring its continued benefits.
- Improve structure: Trees with proper branch architecture will be able to provide benefits for a longer period of time that those without. Pruning to improve structure can allow for the development of a single dominant leader, as well as promote or discourage branch growth in certain directions, depending on the objective.
- Improve aesthetics or views: Pruning to improve a view can create or enlarge a space to look through or under the tree canopy depending on the specific feature or view-scape being prioritized. It can also be done to improve overall aesthetics of the tree or surrounding area.
In addition to addressing these common objectives, pruning also provides a unique opportunity for the arborist to get into the canopy and inspect for other issues that may not be detectable from the ground, including pest and disease pressures.
Do you have a tree that would benefit from pruning? Give us a call today to discuss your pruning objectives with one of our Certified Consulting Arborists.