The Dos and Don’ts of Tree Pruning | Blog | Front Range Arborists

The Dos and Don’ts of Tree Pruning

Did you know that professional arborists are proud to be held to a high standard when it comes to pruning your trees?

You may think that your arborist is carrying out simple maintenance when, in reality, he or she is following the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard for tree pruning.

The distinction between an arborist who follows these standards and one who doesn’t is important. Hacking away trees without any attention to measurements and technique could end up causing irreversible damage. You can avoid these issues by asking if your arborist is aware of and complies with the standards set out in ANSI A300.

ANSI A300 sets out a number of standards for pruning that are intended to safeguard the health of trees that are being treated. Remember, your trees are living plants that can only thrive in the right environment and conditions. In many cases, a species of tree needs help to stay healthy, which is where an arborist comes into the equation.

It, therefore, stands to reason that there are dos and don’ts when it comes to taking care of trees. You wouldn’t chop down a tree and expect it to continue living, for instance. The same principle applies to pruning your trees. Take too much off and you are cutting into healthy material that doesn’t require pruning.

The following standards are those set out in ANSI A300, according to the American National Standards Institute standard for tree pruning:

Pruning Dos

As we have already covered, you should ask if your arborist carries out pruning in line with American National Standards Institute standard for tree pruning. An unscrupulous tree company may simply answer in the affirmative, so it’s also helpful to ask for the name of the standard when hiring any company to prune your trees.

The standard is very clear on how to prune trees – right down to the tools used and specific techniques. When providing an estimate, the arborist should follow the standard definitions outlined in ANSI A300. If this is not the case, the arborist is not adhering to the standards and may provide you with an inaccurate estimate for the work.

Once pruning has taken place, there is no going back. Any damage that is caused to your trees may heal; however, it is often the case that damage is so extensive that it affects the tree throughout its lifespan. In extreme cases, the tree may be denied sufficient sustenance due to the damage. There is also the risk of allowing pests easier access to the tree due to cutting too deeply.

Pruning is sometimes crucial after a storm. It is helpful to hire a local arborist who can provide a full assessment of your trees after the storm has passed. Even if only minor damage has occurred, it is better to have your trees treated by professional arborists so they remain healthy and strong for many years to come.

Pruning Don’ts

Regular pruning does not mean that your arborist should need to carry out work every time there is a scheduled inspection. If pruning is not needed, then the tree is better left alone to thrive. If upon inspection, the arborist needs to prune your trees, no more than 25% of the foliage should be removed if it is growing season.

A newly-planted tree does not require pruning in its first year of growth. The only exceptions to this rule are the maintenance of dead and broken branches. Utility conductors can kill, so if your trees are within 10 feet of one, it is highly recommended that you hire professionals to carry out pruning safely. Similarly, if you are going to need to use a chainsaw and ladder when pruning, it’s not a job for someone without training and experience. Your life comes first, so bring in a professional arborist who knows how to handle the risks involved in using these tools at a height.

It is important not to leave branch stubs when pruning, but it is even more important not to cause damage to the core of the tree. For the unskilled, this can create a bit of a quandary. Again, a professional arborist will have the fine skills to ensure that pruning is expertly performed to keep the tree healthy. Never climb a tree with climbing spikes as this will result in damage to the tree. Wound paint does more harm than good to a tree in many cases, so we do not recommend using it at Front Range Arborists.

To ensure that your tree receives the best pruning treatment possible, our team is happy to provide you with further advice or an on-site consultation. Front Range Arborists can also provide a free estimate over the phone or via our online form. If you would like to know more about the services we offer or think your trees need to be pruned, reach out to our offices today.

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