Trees may require pruning for a number of reasons:
- Improves natural form and appearance.
- Improves branch spacing.
- Strengthens branch attachment.
- Invigorates or slows branch growth rate.
- Improves stability by reducing wind resistance.
- Removes dead, weakened, injured, diseased or insect-damaged branches.
- Increases lighting to the interior.
- Reduces hazard potential.
There are three basic approaches to pruning:
- Crown reduction – a method to reduce the overall height of a tree. Most commonly used to alleviate power line conflicts. This approach may also be employed to clear site lines for a scenic overlook or vista. This method should only be considered as a last resort because it opens multiple large and small wounds on a tree and those wounds can be entry points for insects or disease.
- Crown thinning/cleaning – often used to open up the canopy for air movement through the tree and to provide light penetration to the interior. Beyond that, this pruning approach considers many things: correction of structural problems, removing deadwood and hangers, removal of diseased wood and insect infestations, etc.
- Crown raising – removal of lower branches to improve site lines near roads and to allow for movement of people and vehicles under trees. Along city streets, permanent tree branches should be removed to a minimum height of 16 feet from the ground or street surface. Along sidewalks, permanent tree branches should be a minimum of 8 feet above the sidewalk to allow for pedestrian traffic.
The tree’s dormant season is the best time to prune. Most of the trees in our area are dormant at this time of the year and into late winter.
Properly pruned trees are more attractive, reduce potential hazards, and increase the value of our homes and community.