Trimming trees properly preserve beauty, health
Friday, December 27th, 2013
Issue 52, Volume 17.
Winter is a great time to examine the stability and health of your trees, say tree care experts. Why? With the leaves off, cracks, defects and deadwood are easier to see.
"Most trees can be pruned year-round, if pruned properly," says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association. "And certain operations are easier to do in the winter if the tree is not actively growing."
Some homeowners worry that arborists will not be able to determine deadwood on a tree when the leaves are off. "On the contrary," says Andersen. "This is the best time for an arborist to locate deadwood by looking for changes in branch color, fungus growth, cracks, and other symptoms that can help them make this determination. Since the leaves are off, the view of the entire tree’s architecture is clear and a thorough check can be performed."
Pruning is much more than the simple act of sawing off limbs. Proper pruning isan art based on scientific principles of plant physiology. At its most basic level, pruning trees involves removing damaged, dead or structurally weak limbs, which will improve a tree’s health and reduce the chances of personal or property damage caused by falling limbs. More advanced pruning methods aid in improving the tree’s structure and long-term health.
Proper pruning encourages growth, increases flower and fruit production, improves plant health, and removes damaged limbs, all which give aesthetic appeal to a tree. Pruning at the right time and in the right way is critical, since it is possible to kill a tree through neglect or over-pruning.
Well-trained arborists should prune according to the American National Standards Institute standard for tree pruning, which is called ANSI A300. Proper work estimates should be issued within ANSI A300 standards.
Arborists adhering to ANSI A300 pruning standards will:
*not leave branch stubs
*make few or no heading cuts
*not cut off the branch collar (not make a flush cut)
*not top or lion’s tail trees (stripping a branch from the inside leaving foliage just at the ends)
*not remove more than 25 percent of the foliage of a single branch
*not remove more than 25 percent of the total tree foliage in a single year
*not damage other parts of the tree during pruning
*not use wound paint
*not prune without a good reason
*not climb the tree with climbing spikes
For help in locating a professional arborist, do a zip code search at www.treecaretips.org or call toll-free (800) 733-2622.
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