Pruning Your Trees and Shrubs | Blog | Front Range Arborists

Pruning Your Trees and Shrubs

Pruning is a horticultural practice that alters the growth and shape of a plant, based on science and a customers aesthetic needs. 

We use pruning as our number one preventative maintenance against many issues, such as poor plant structure, poor growth habits, disease issues, among many others. We also prune plants to remove dead and dying branches, material infected by disease, animal damage (such as squirrel damage on many of our Siberian Elm trees), and storm damage. We also prune for branches that rub together. These branches will eventually rub into the cambium layer of the tree, which can girdle and kill the branch(es).

On the aesthetic side of pruning, we prune plants for fruit and/or flower production. To maintain a desired shape, such as a hedge, or to maintain a special form for a plant, such as a bonsai tree. Appearance in a landscape is essential to a plants usefulness. It raises property values, as well as providing a great looking landscape to enjoy a home.


Pruning Begins At Planting

Pruning your trees should begin at planting. Many nurseries will do some pruning on trees while they are still in their stock. But after that, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the tree. Pruning a bad branch attachment, or a co-dominant stem when the plant is young will save you a lot of time and money down the road. A co-dominant stem when the plant is young will save you a lot of time and money down the road. A co-dominant stem can be pruned in minutes when the tree is young, but 25 years later it will require a much more labor intensive, and expensive job. Those bad attachments, bad shape, and co-dominant stems are usually also the first to fail in storms. That one small cut at planting could be the difference between a tree making through a storm with minimal damage, and the top of a tree landing in your yard or house.


Pruning Established Trees

Even if you haven’t had the opportunity to prune your trees when they were young, older, established  plants can still greatly benefit from tree pruning. Crown thinning selectively removes branches throughout the tree, promoting better light penetration, and air movement in the tree. This also helps in wind storms and during heavy and wet snow events that tend to snap poorly attached and dead/dying or diseased limbs. Crown raising is the process of raising the canopy of a tree by removing the lower branches on a tree. This will allow fro clearance above sidewalks, roads, and lawns. Crown reduction is the process of removing larger branches at the top of a tree to reduce height. When done properly, crown reduction is different that tree topping because branches are removed at lateral branches, leaving no stubs to sucker and “lions tail”, leading to poor branch attachments and disease issues. And lastly is crown cleaning, otherwise known as maintenance pruning. This will remove dead, dying, and diseased wood from the crown, lowering the chances of material falling out of the tree and doing damage to people or property below.


If you have any questions about pruning your trees and shrubs, or would like an estimate to have our certified arborists come and trim them, please call our office at (719) 635-7459.

Find out more about how Front Range Arborists can help provide services to residential, commercial, and municipal institutions with all of our Tree Services: