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Trees living in the urban environment need to be pruned from time to time. Reasons can range from the removal of dead or diseased branches; to cutting back limbs from a building, sidewalk or light; vista pruning; or simply to maintain the shape and structure of a tree. No matter what the reason, the decision to prune a branch must bear in mind the consequence it will have on the structure, health, and vigor of the tree.
Whatever the actual reason for tree pruning, there are some general guidelines that should be followed. Chief among these are to never prune more than 25 percent of the foliage from a tree during one growing season. Keep in mind good branch structure when selecting which branches to prune. And remember, topping is an outdated practice that harms tree health and increases the risk of tree failure. Both the International Society of Arboriculture and the Tree Care Industry Association strongly recommend against topping.
Pruning cuts must be done correctly in order for the wound to properly close over. The cambium layer produces the cells that close over wounds. Flush cuts remove the cambium layer. At the other spectrum, stub cuts can leave too much wood. Both of these conditions result in wounds that don’t close over, which may allow decay to develop that can travel back into living tissue. When having tree pruning services done to your tree, make sure the tree cutter is a certified arborist.
Pruning can help maintain healthy trees when it’s done correctly. To reduce the need for maintenance pruning, a plant growth regulator may be a good solution, depending upon the situation. Maintenance tree pruning can be spaced out further with the proper use of plant growth regulators, but it can’t be used in all situations.
If you live in Belmont Country Club, Lansdowne, or Ashburn, you know the certified arborist at Growing Earth Tree Care are the tree experts you can count on for tree pruning and tree removals, along with tree disease diagnosis and tree pest treatments for the past 40 years.