Down to Earth Tree Service

Down to Earth Tree Service 

Owner, Joe Carroll

This is a great read from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. It applies to all regions and explains the science of what I do!

Why Should Trees Be Pruned?

Proper pruning of landscape trees improves their structural strength, maintains their health, enhances their beauty, and increases their value. 
Pruning is advisable if:

  • trees have crossing branches, weak branch unions, or other defects
  • branches are dead, dying, decayed, or hazardous
  • lower branches interfere with people or vehicles or block visibility of signs
  • branches are growing into buildings or utility wires
  • limbs have been broken by storms
  • trees have grown too large and might injure people or damage property

Landscape trees not only make homes and communities more beautiful, but they also improve our environment and can increase the value of a property up to 20 percent. Trees are truly assets that need to be enhanced and protected. Proper pruning is definitely a worthwhile investment!

Who Is Qualified to Prune Trees?

Simple types of pruning, such as cutting lower branches from small trees, can be done by anyone who understands plants and has the proper tools. But only qualified arborists should train young trees or climb into trees to prune them. That type of tree work requires knowledge of scientifically based pruning techniques, tree physiology, and safety practices, as well as working experience with various tools and tree species. Because proper pruning is complicated and examples of shoddy and unsafe work abound, national standards have been developed for the best methods and safety. Any potentially hazardous activity associated with climbing trees, using power tools, and especially working near electric lines should be left to qualified professionals who follow the national tree safety standards.

Types of Pruning Cuts

— A thinning cut removes a branch at its point of origin on the trunk. A reduction cut shortens a limb to a lateral branch large enough to resume the growth of the pruned limb. Thinning and reduction cuts leave no stubs. They are used to remove damaged, dead, or weak branches, reduce the length and weight of heavy limbs or reduce the height of a tree. Reduction cuts are placed so as to distribute ensuing growth throughout a tree and retain or enhance a tree's natural shape. Reduction and thinning cuts are the proper type of cut to use in pruning a live tree. Reduction cuts on larger branches can be referred to as drop crotch pruning.

— A heading cut trims a branch back to a bud or trims a branch or leader back to a small branch not large enough to assume the growth of the pruned branch. Heading cuts should only be used when pollarding trees or shaping terminal flowering plants such as roses; they should not be used for topping trees. Topping has been described as the "ultimate in destructive practices," and in almost all cases it permanently damages a tree's health, structure, and appearance.

— A stub cut is like a heading cut but is made indiscriminately to a point on a branch or leader where no bud or branch exists. A stub cut, like a heading cut, is used when a tree is topped. Topping is only appropriate when sections of limbs are cut off during the removal of a tree.

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