As Certified Arborists we get a lot of questions regarding pruning. Here are some of the most asked questions and the best pruning principle for your trees.
Q: Do my trees need to be trimmed or pruned?
A: The short answer is no, trees in general do not need trimming or pruning, but pruning may be required to achieve certain goals, such as structure clearance, deadwood removal, or other risk mitigation.
Q: When the wind blows, my tree moves a lot. Is this normal? Should I have the tree topped or cut back to remove the movement?
A: No. Unless we are dealing with a topiary, topping is never the answer. Topping is a barbaric practice that has no place in modern arboriculture. In some very specific circumstances, a crown reduction may be recommended, but this is not common. Proper crown reductions require work of highly trained certified arborists and are often one part of a multi-phase prescription for tree preservation.
Q: What is a topiary?
A: A topiary is a tree or woody shrub grown specifically to be pruned or sheared into a specific shape. Common topiary species include Boxwood, Privet, Arborvitae, Myrtle (both wax and crepe) and Yew.
Q: When is the best time to prune my tree?
A: The answer to this question is very delicate. In almost all cases the best time to prune is both specie and percentage dependent. Rather than try to explain every factor, it is simply recommended that you have a certified arborist evaluate your tree for the best results.
Q: Can you cut my trees back?
A: Your tree can be pruned to achieve certain goals. Certified arborists follow a detailed set of standards to best achieve the goals presented while fiercely protecting the health and longevity of the tree.
Q: My tree dropped a limb, or a few limbs, is it dead?
A: Possibly. Healthy vibrant trees frequently self-prune and shed limbs that are not providing adequate nutrient returns for their energy investment. This process is a sign of a sound healthy tree. However, trees that are dead or dying also shed limbs, so it can be difficult for the untrained eye to determine if the tree is healthy or dead. That is why it is best to consult with an arborist to determine the status of your tree.
As most of the answers would suggest, a consultation with a certified arborist will take the guesswork out of your pruning puzzle. Do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a consultation with a Certified Arborist, as wait times can often extend many weeks out during peak spring, summer and fall seasons.