Proper pruning of trees is an artful skill and should be treated as such by a trained qualified arborist. While improper pruning can damage or even kill your tree, pruning correctly can enhance the natural beauty of your trees, improve the aesthetics of your property and increase its overall value.

Pruning is important to accomplish many objectives as :

  • Improving tree health
  • Removing deadwood or crown cleaning
  • Improving tree structure
  • Training pruning to guide future growth
  • Decreasing canopy weight
  • Reducing wind resistance by thinning
  • Reducing overall size or spread with reduction pruning
  • Increasing sunlight into an area
  • Enhancing vista’s and views of the surrounding landscape
  • Clearing branches away from structures for fire safety and rodent control
  • Provide clearance for structures, vehicles, and pedestrians
  • Increase overall aesthetics to a landscape

Many companies prune trees incorrectly by removing either all the lower branches (aka:severe crown raising) or by removing the majority of the inner limbs(aka: lions tailing), or even worst by topping. They do this because it is less work and they think it is the right thing to do. Most often, inner and low branches are easy to reach and it also makes it look like they did a lot of work because of the big cuts and lots of material removed. But the majority of the time, the company is just not educated on proper pruning methods and their workers are not trained or qualified. The effects on long term health and structure to the tree is significant with incorrect pruning. With proper pruning a tree looks more natural in appearance and not necessarily looks as if it was even pruned; more is not necessarily better.

Proper pruning is usually removing material near the ends of branches or along the outer canopy of the tree, removing dead limbs, and only thinning where necessary. The tree needs its canopy to produce food to live; therefore excessive removal of green limbs will harm the tree. Additionally, improper cuts such as flush or ripped cuts will also lead to future problems.

When a tree is properly pruned, it will not need to be pruned as often; I know it doesn’t make sense, but an overly pruned tree will actually react by growing faster because it is trying to replenish its leaves so it can produce food again and survive. Therefore maintenance costs are lowered when proper care is given. Furthermore, improper pruning can actually create a hazard by the tree reacting negatively by pushing new growth towards the end of the branches making them heavy, causing them to break and fall, possibly on homes or people.

At Hamilton, our Arborists are properly trained and qualified to prune to modern tree industry standards so there is no need to worry about your valued assets. We will give your trees the proper care to enhance their health, structure and beauty.

Pruning Standards

With the American National Standard for pruning, ANSI A300, specifications are interpreted based on the development process approved by the American Standards Institute. The A300 standard has been drafted to address pruning specifications across all geographic areas. The following information is designed to help you understand exactly what will be accomplished in a pruning operation from Hamilton Tree Service Inc.

Pruning Objectives

  • Hazard Reduction Pruning (HRP)— Is recommended when the primary objective is to reduce the danger to a specific target caused by visibly defined hazards in a tree. For example, HRP may be the primary objective if a tree has many dead limbs over a schoolyard.
  • Maintenance Pruning (MP) — Is recommended when the primary objective is to maintain or improve tree health and structure and includes hazard reduction pruning. An example here might be to perform an MP operation on a front yard tree

Hazard reduction pruning and maintenance pruning should consist of one or more of the pruning types noted below:

  • Crown cleaning — The selective removal of one or more of the following items: dead, dying or diseased branches, weak branches and watersprouts
  • Crown thinning — The selective removal of branches to increase light penetration, air movement and to reduce weight
  • Crown raising — The removal of the lower branches to provide clearance
  • Crown reduction or shaping — Decrease the height and/or spread of a tree. Consideration should be given to the ability of the species to sustain this type of pruning
  • Vista pruning — The selective thinning of framework limbs or specific areas of the crown to allow a view of an object from predetermined spot
  • Crown restoration — Should improve the structure, form and appearance of trees which have been severely headed, vandalized or storm damaged.

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