Arundel Tree Service
Arundel Tree Service Tree Removal Tree Care
"Tree Pruning" is a very generalized term, but believe it or not there are many different variations that can be performed. Here are some more details on the types of pruning we offer.
Class I Pruning
is considered a Fine Prune, this level of Pruning takes
the longest amount of time and is the most detail oriented. This service is recommended for premium quality work with an emphasis on aesthetic considerations, in addition to structural integrity.
A Class I Pruning Consists of:
Remove dead, dying, diseased and broken branches 1/2"in diameter or larger
Reduce density by selectively removing interfering, crossing or running branches, objectional obstructing or weak branches, and water branches. The purpose of Crown thinning is to reduce weight, improve structural integrity and to increase light penetration and air movement through the crown
Crown Raising and Restoration
May also be performed in conjunction with Class I Pruning.
Class II Pruning
Recommended for general tree maintenance where tree health and
structural integrity are the primary concern.
A Class II Pruning Consists of:
Remove dead, dying, diseased and broken branches 1" in diameter or larger within the crown.
Crown Raising and Restoration
May also be performed in conjunction with Class II Pruning.
Class III Pruning : Hazard Pruning
Recommended where safety considerations are paramount. This means of pruning is done strictly for safety purposes as opposed to the more
aesthetically pleasing options offered in class one and two prunings.
A Class III Pruning Consists of:
Remove dead, dying, diseased and broken branches 2" in diameter or
larger within the crown.
Crown Raising and Restoration
May also be performed in conjunction with Class III Pruning.
Class IV Pruning
also known as a Crown Reduction (This is not the same as the
unacceptable practice of Topping-which endangers the health
and structural integrity of the tree-for more information on Toppings see section Below). Crown Reduction reduces the height and/or spread of a tree. This practice is undertaken where there has been significant crown die back or in cases where due to storm damage or prior incorrect Pruning or "Topping", it is appropriate for safety or aesthetic reasons.
Class IV Pruning consists of:
A Crown reduction can apply to the entire canopy or to individual limbs as needed. It is recommended where the top or sides of individual limbs are reduced in size and the spread or the parent limb or dominant leader is removed at the point of attachment of the lateral branch. This practice is sometimes also referred to "Cutting Back" or "Drop Crotch Pruning"
Crown Raising consists of the removal of the lower branches to provide crown elevation, clearance for vehicles or foot traffic, open vistas, and to improve sunlight penetration. It is also used to clear for buildings, light posts, and
other structures by targeting specific primary and/or secondary branches.
Crown Restoration consists of selective Pruning to improve the structure, form and appearance of trees that have sprouted vigorously after storm damage, topping or severely pruning using head cuts. Crown Restoration may require several pruning applications over a number of years to achieve the
Root Collar Excavation
Root Collar Excavation is the removal of excess soil and/or mulch from the base of a tree. When planted to deep, trees may become susceptible to girdling roots. Girdling roots grow around the main stem and like their name says can girdle or “choke” the tree. These roots can restrict the intake of water, plant nutrients and stored food reserves. Over time, growth of the tree’s branches will be slowed, leaves will become smaller and lighter in color, fewer leaves will be produced, and eventually the branches will begin to die back. Death of the entire planting can occur anywhere from one to twenty years. Root girdling
can be prevented in vulnerable trees with root collar excavation, and halted by planting your new trees properly.
What is Topping? (other than very bad!)
Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping include heading, tipping, hat-racking, or rounding over. This is a practice we do not recommend or perform! Not only is it bad for your trees it creates an unappealing result. Once topped most trees do not return to a "normal" shape and may never recover from the injuries.
The most common reason given for topping is to reduce the size of a tree. Home owners often feel that their trees have become too large for their property. People fear that tall trees may pose a hazard. Topping, however, is not a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not reduce the hazard. In fact, topping will make a tree more hazardous in the long term.
Topping Stresses Trees
Topping often removes 50 to 100 percent of the leaf-bearing crown of a tree. Because leaves are the food factories of a tree, removing them can temporarily starve a tree. The severity of the pruning triggers a sort of survival mechanism. The tree activates latent buds, forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut. The tree needs to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible. If a tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do so, it will be seriously weakened and may die.
A stressed tree is more vulnerable to insect and disease infestations. Large, open pruning wounds expose the sapwood and heartwood to attacks. The tree may lack sufficient energy to chemically defend the wounds against invasion, and some insects are actually attracted to the chemical signals trees release.
Topping Causes Decay
The preferred location to make a pruning cut is just beyond the branch collar at the branch’s point of attachment. The tree is biologically equipped to close such a wound, provided the tree is healthy enough and the wound is not too large. Cuts made along a limb between lateral branches create stubs with wounds that the tree may not be able to close. The exposed wood tissues begin to decay. Normally, a tree will “wall off,” or compartmentalize, the decaying tissues, but few trees can defend the multiple severe wounds caused by topping. The decay organisms are given a free path to move down through the branches.
Topping Can Lead to Sunburn
Branches within a tree’s crown produce thousands of leaves to absorb sunlight. When the leaves are removed, the remaining branches and trunk are suddenly exposed to high levels of light and heat. The result may be sunburn of the tissues beneath the bark, which can lead to cankers, bark splitting, and death of some branches.
Think of it this way.....Would you shave your head and then go out into the sun unprotected day after day????? Of course not, that could lead to significant burning which could have long term effects on your health. Trees are alive just like us and any significant changes to their "bodies" could have long lasting negative results.
Topping Creates Hazards
The survival mechanism that causes a tree to produce multiple shoots below each topping cut comes at great expense to the tree. These shoots develop from buds near the surface of the old branches. Unlike normal branches that develop in a socket of overlapping wood tissues, these new shoots are anchored only in the outermost layers of the parent branches.
The new shoots grow quickly, as much as 20 feet in one year, in some species. Unfortunately, the shoots are prone to breaking, especially during windy conditions. The irony is that while the goal was to reduce the tree’s height to make it safer, it has been made more hazardous than before.
Topping Makes Trees Ugly
The natural branching structure of a tree is a biological wonder. Trees form a variety of shapes and growth habits, all with the same goal of presenting their leaves to the sun. Topping removes the ends of the branches, often leaving ugly stubs. Topping destroys the natural form of a tree.
Without leaves (up to 6 months of the year in temperate climates), a topped tree appears disfigured and mutilated. With leaves, it is a dense ball of foliage, lacking its simple grace. A tree that has been topped can never fully regain its natural form.
Topping Is Expensive
The cost of topping a tree is not limited to what the perpetrator is paid. If the tree survives, it will require pruning again within a few years. It will either need to be reduced again or storm damage will have to be cleaned up. If the tree dies, it will have to be removed.
Topping is a high-maintenance pruning practice, with some hidden costs. One is the reduction in property value. Healthy, well-maintained trees can add 10 to 20 percent to the value of a property. Disfigured, topped trees are considered an impending expense.
Another possible cost of topped trees is potential liability. Topped trees are prone to breaking and can be hazardous. Because topping is considered an unacceptable pruning practice, any damage caused by branch failure of a topped tree may lead to a finding of negligence in a court of law.
Alternatives to Topping
Sometimes a tree must be reduced in height or spread. Providing clearance for utility lines is an example. There are recommended techniques for doing so. If practical, branches should be removed back to their point of origin. If a branch must be shortened, it should be cut back to a lateral that is large enough to assume the terminal role. A rule of thumb is to cut back to a lateral that is at least one-third the diameter of the limb being removed.
This method of branch reduction helps to preserve the natural form of the tree. However, if large cuts are involved, the tree may not be able to close over and compartmentalize the wounds. Sometimes the best solution is to remove the tree and replace it with a species that is more appropriate for the site
Some tree experts actually use the expression "If God wanted Trees to be Topped he would have given Birds Chainsaws for feet"!
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