Tree trimming sounds reasonably simple, and for the most part it is. However, there are many ways to trim a tree and many different approaches from many different companies. Not all tree trimming companies are the same, and some tree trimming companies are not Certified Arborists, which means there has been no formal education regarding the proper care and maintenance of trees based on species. In this article, we will talk about the main elements of proper care and maintenance and how most trees need to be pruned correctly.
There are 3 main factors to consider when trimming your tree, or having your tree trimmed professionally; Health, Safety, and Beauty. In most cases, the following tree trimming practices will cover the 3 factors of tree trimming.
Deadwooding or Dead Wood Removal – Dead wood is common in all trees and is typically found when the tree has decided that the branch it has been supporting is no longer a productive member. This typically occurs when the branch has not received enough light to feed itself, or when the leaves have been removed beyond the point of feeding the branch. Dead wood can also be caused by infestations in the tree, like disease or insects. Dead wood over 1/2″ in diameter should be removed annually, as dead branches can fall in even moderate wind.
Sprout Removal – Sucker sprouts, water sprouts, basal shoots, and root sprouts are all variations of new growth sprouting from the trunk of the tree, or limbs that are several years old. Sprouts should be removed annually as each sprout is not as strong as the natural grown branches that form the tree. Sprouts typically occur as a result of damage or pruning and are more subject to infestations. Sprouts also produce very little fruit on fruit trees and can cause unneeded weight in the tree.
Co-Mingled Branches – Branches that are entangled should be corrected so that they can grow apart from each other. When one branch lays on another, for instance, it can cause weight imbalances that can lead to future breakages. In most cases, when branches are growing too close, one branch can shade another which will cause the shaded branch to die off.
Weak Branches – Suckers that have grown into weak branches can be hazardous as they are not as strong as the natural branches that are more structurally sound. Weaker branches also include “Y” formations on evergreens, and branches that have been compromised due to damage or infestation.
Thinning – Wind thinning is a hot topic among Arborists. Some say that it is not needed, others insist on it. In the Charleston area, we recommend allowing plenty of wind to move through the tree, as we experience high wind during storm seasons. After responding to countless toppled trees and failed branches, we don’t take the chance. Generally speaking, we should be able to stand at the base of your tree and see a generous amount of light throughout the tree. When a tree is crowded and overgrown, it becomes a sail that catches the wind. These sails will eventually fail under the right amount of stress.
These are just a few of the major tree pruning practices that we employ. Other methods of our tree pruning in Charleston include, selective pruning, proper branch collar cuts, and tree sealant when needed.