Trimming/pruning is the most frequent tree maintenance procedure. Although forest trees grow well with only nature's pruning, landscape trees require a higher stage of care to maintain their safety and aesthetics. Trimming should be done with an understanding of how the tree responds to each cut. Improper pruning can cause damage that will last for the life of the tree, or worse, shorten the tree's life.

Reasons for Trimming

Because each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, no branch should be removed without a reason. Common reasons for pruning are to remove dead branches, to remove full or rubbing limbs, and to eliminate hazards. Trees may also be trimmed to increase light and air penetration to the inside of the tree's crown or to the landscape below. In most cases, mature trees are pruned as a corrective or preventive measure.

If people and trees are to coexist in an urban or suburban environment, then we sometimes have to trim the trees. City environments do not imitate forest conditions. We want trees to complement other landscape plantings and lawns. Proper trimming, with an understanding of tree biology, can maintain good tree health and structure while enhancing the beauty and values of our landscapes.

Tree Hazard Checklist

Consider these questions:

    - Are there large dead branches in the tree?
    - Are there detached branches hanging in the tree?