As one of the most common and essential tree maintenance procedures performed, proper tree pruning helps maintain safe, healthy and attractive landscape trees. At American Tree Masters, our skilled personnel have a thorough understanding of how, when and why to prune, ensuring that each and every cut made to your trees will only contribute to their longevity.
The most common reasons for pruning ornamental and shade trees include promoting healthy growth, correcting structural defects or improving aesthetics. As every alteration made to a tree has the potential to impact its growth, it is important that pruning typically be done for only the following reasons:
Pruning for Structure
Several structural elements of a tree such as the spacing, growth rate, strength of attachment and ultimate size of branches and stems are improved through the removal of live branches and stems. This type of pruning is most common in young and medium sized trees as it reduces the risk of tree failure through the promotion of structurally sound trunk and branch architecture.
Pruning to Clean
A tree’s canopy is cleaned through the removal of crowded, weakly attached, dead, cracked or broken branches and low-vigor branches. Cleaning is the preferred type of pruning in mature trees as it maintains their health by not removing live branches unnecessarily.
Pruning to Thin
A selective number of small live branches are removed in order to reduce crown density and allow for better light filtration and air movement throughout the top of a tree. It can also reduce the weight of heavy limbs and helps retain the tree’s natural shape. Thinning is ideal when a lawn, ground covers or shrubs underneath a tree need to receive more sunlight or airflow.
Pruning to Raise
Vertical clearance over structures including buildings, signs and vehicular or pedestrian pathways can be created through the selective removal of the lowest branches. This encourages the middle and top branches of a tree to grow, thereby raising its entire canopy.
Pruning to Reduce
The height or spread of a tree is reduced to provide clearance from objects, such as buildings and utility lines, by reducing or removing limbs on that side of the tree. By only pruning back the leading branches, the structural integrity and form of the tree can be maintained during reduction.
Prune to Restore
Trees that have been severely headed, vandalized, broken in a storm or otherwise severely damaged can be selectively pruned to improve structure, form and appearance.