All of the pruning work we perform conforms to the ANSI A300 Nationally accepted pruning standard. Our practices draw heavily on the work of Dr Ed Gilman, Author of "An Illustrated Guide to Pruning." Our approach to pruning focuses on tree health, safety, and beauty. We work with our customers to establish objectives for their trees, from those objectives we are able to make pruning recommendations. All Pruning work is overseen by an ISA Certified Arborist or Master Arborist.
Common Types of Pruning we Perform
Structural Pruning: This pruning seeks to reduce or remove structural flaws which may lead to problems in the future. It is most effective when performed on young trees, it can however be performed on trees of any age. The goal of structural pruning is to direct tree growth into parts of the tree which have the strongest structure possible. Structural pruning often includes:
Suppression of branches which may some day need to be removed to keep them from getting too large
Removal or shortening of branches with defective unions or branches which are prone to failure
Removal or shortening of codominant stems
Establishing and maintaining a single dominant central leader (stem)
Clearance Pruning: The PNW is home to some of the most productive forests on planet earth! This is reflected in the incredible size and growth rate of many of our trees. Often steps must be taken to ensure that these trees do not cause problems for the people and infrastructure.
Removal of hazardous branches: When trees are in high use areas it is common to remove any dead, defective, or broken branches to reduce the risk of branch failure.
Fruit Tree Pruning: With proper maintenance fruit trees can be a real asset. Our fruit tree pruning focuses on maintaining a strong fruit bearing structure for the trees and on keeping fruit accessible to the people picking it. Fruit tree pruning is best performed during dormancy (winter) to maximize fruit production.
Aesthetic pruning: Who doesn't want their tree to look beautiful? To some people that might mean leaving their trees in a natural state. For other people especially owners of common ornamental species some minor pruning can go a long way towards the enjoyment of their trees as an aesthetic asset. We are happy to implement this kind of pruning when we feel it will not be harmful to the health of the tree.
Laceleaf Japanese maple before aesthetic pruning
After aesthetic pruning
Crown Restoration Pruning: Sometimes trees are damaged by severe weather events such as ice and wind storms, more commonly they are damaged by inexperienced tree pruners. Whatever the cause of the damage we are here to help. We work with the tree's natural growth response to reestablish a healthy and safe crown.
Hedge/Topiary: There are a few select species and a few select situations in which it makes sense to trim a tree into a specific shape with hedge shears or to make extensive heading (stub) cuts on a tree. We are very careful with the implementation of this management technique.
Containment pruning: Trees often grow larger than people expect they will, even when the tag says maximum 20' (remember that part about the most productive forests on earth?). We try to avoid whole crown containment pruning whenever possible, even when it may mean removal and replacement with a more appropriate species. Sometimes there is no alternative however. In this case we encourage a short pruning cycle to minimize the size of cuts that need to be made.
View Improvement Pruning: Views are important and valuable assets. We can help you maintain your view without harming the trees. We encourage a natural approach where some branches are retained and a filtered view is achieved that includes the beauty of the trees and the scenery. We do not top trees to improve views.
Thinning: Despite what someone may have told you trees do not need to be thinned to be healthy! Thinning can be a byproduct of some of our pruning techniques but it is rarely a goal unto itself. When thinning is performed properly it removes branches evenly throughout the crown, when it is performed improperly it focuses on removal of interior branches and foliage. This practice known as "lions-tailing" is VERY DAMAGING to tree health and is unfortunately practiced by many tree pruners in the area. We do occasionally thin trees, commonly to encourage fruit health or to improve aesthetic value, but we are very careful not to lions-tail, over-thin, or jeopardize tree health.
A Douglas fir tree "windsail" thinned by another company. This type of pruning is very harmful to tree health, does not reduce the chance of whole tree failure, and will encourage branch failure. The tree pruners also used climbing spikes to access the tree, a completely inappropriate and unprofessional practice when pruning the tree. Climbing spikes should never be used on any tree or tree part which is not being completely removed. There are a myriad of safe efficient ways to access pruning work in a tree without using climbing spikes.
For older trees which are showing signs of stress or for fruit trees dormancy (winter) pruning is best
Many trees in this area may be pruned year round
If growth suppression of a healthy tree (commonly fruit trees) is a goal summer pruning is best
There are certain species specific considerations for when to prune a tree, we are here to help you make the best choice for your trees
If a large amount of material needs to be removed from a mature tree it may be best to spread out the pruning over a matter of years
How much can be removed from a tree while pruning? (Commonly measured as a percentage of total foliage) The general guidelines set forth in the "Illustrated Guide to Pruning" are 50% for young trees, 25% for medium aged trees, and 10% for mature trees. Those guidelines are subject to many considerations such as tree vigor and growth form. Often people think: "it is a big tree so we should be able to remove a lot" this is not the case. Big old trees invest extensive resources in maintaining and protecting their large structures. Heavy pruning and large cuts can be very hard on older trees. Often they won't show the effects of this stress or damage for years. We try to minimize the size of the cuts we make on old trees as well as minimizing the amount of foliage removed. My tree doesn't look very different than before you pruned it, did I get my monies worth? Thank you! That is one of the greatest compliments a tree pruner can receive. We strive to achieve our customer's objectives while removing the minimum amount of foliage possible. We create value for our customers by maintaining and encouraging tree health rather than by removing a lot so "it looks like we really did something." Often trees which have been over-pruned will suffer health or structural problems. It is also common that healthy trees which have been over-pruned will grow vigorously and all effects of the thinning will be lost within a year or two. Should I use a wound dressing? Other than in a few select cases where pests are attracted to fresh pruning wounds wound dressings have fallen out of favor in the arboricultural community. Trees have an effective and fascinating process for closing off wounds called compartmentalization of decay in trees (or CODIT). Humans have yet to find something more effective than the tree's own defenses. Do tall conifers need to be thinned so they don't blow over in the wind? This practice commonly known as "wind-sailing" has been widely discredited but is unfortunately still practiced by many companies in the area. It is not known to actually decrease the chance of tree failure. Instead it harms tree health and commonly exacerbates the common problem of branch failure. Branch failure is addressed through structural pruning by shortening branches most likely to fail in the wind. This is the opposite approach Did we fail to answer your question here? Email us: email@example.com