Pruning Program

March 17, 2019

Pruning Program


Pruning needs vary with the tree, the site, and the owner’s landscape goals. We have proven pruning programs for each situation; from the commercial property with hundreds of trees, to the homeowner with an overgrown Apple tree.


Our pruning standards conform to ISA Best Management Practices. In short, this means that:

  1. cuts are made cleanly and placed to best allow the tree to heal, direct future growth, enhance tree aesthetics and prevent undue stress.
  2. We avoid the unnecessary removal of large branches or stems to prevent trunk decay.
  3. We limit pruning to 25% of live foliage per season on healthy trees. Stressed or vulnerable trees will receive a lighter pruning dose

Many people only appreciate the immediate effects of pruning. The branches & material removed, and the altered crown are readily noticeable. What’s missed are the long-term cumulative effects of how the cuts were made and placed, and which branches were selected. Trees respond to pruning in several ways:

  1. they expend energy to heal the cut. How & where the cut is made has a great impact on the success and effort the tree must make to heal the wound. Properly placed cuts minimize the size of the wound and take advantage of anatomical and physiological features of the tree to aid in healing.
  2. Most trees will attempt to replace the lost growth – yep that’s right, the loss of foliage and branch tips induces a release of hormones from the roots of the tree which signal the tree to produce new growth. Which branch is removed, and where the cut is placed will influence the tree response. Smart pruning anticipates and guides the new growth.

We don’t top trees, and we don’t recommend aggressively reducing the size of mature trees even with proper pruning techniques. Topping places pruning cuts indiscriminately along branches and trunks ignoring the existing growth divisions and healing mechanisms of the tree. The result is dead stubs, large wounds, and massive sprouting. Proper reduction pruning, places cuts in ideal locations, but when done aggressively will still result in large wounds and some sprouting. Many species, such as Willow, will respond very vigorously to aggressive pruning; producing multiple, fast growing shoots which grow several times faster than the original branches. These trees are back to their original size in no time. They’ll also have large un-healed wounds and unsightly clusters of weakly attached shoots. If allowed to grow a few years, these shoots become dangerous. They tend to emerge mainly around the edge of large cuts. These cuts fail to heal properly, rotting in the centre. This undermines the strength of the shoots anchored to this area.

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