Right and wrong ways to prune

Trees are trimmed by our experienced professionals, and the work is supervised by our certified arborists.

While our crews prune trees specifically to ensure power line clearance, they use pruning methods designed to protect healthy trees. Branches are pruned where they join with the tree trunk or parent branch, and cuts are made along the same natural lines where a tree would normally shed a branch. The cut is as close as possible without injuring the tree.

This directional pruning offers many advantages over traditional tree topping:

  • Tree growth is directed away from power lines.
  • Fewer sprouts and suckering require pruning less often.
  • There are fewer wounds created, and any wounds that are made heal better and faster.
  • Pruning can be started when the tree is young, and it is encouraged to grow naturally.

While some tree owners say they prefer topping or shaping trees, this requires numerous cuts between nodes, which can lead to weak suckers, cracks, rot and disease. Topping ultimately shortens the life of the tree. Our crews employ healthier crown reduction methods when needed.

How much to prune?

Our crews trim only the trees that may interfere with overhead powerline safety and reliability. The amount of trimming required depends on several things:

  • Trimming cycles – Tree limbs are trimmed far enough back from overhead powerlines so they won’t grow back into the lines before the next scheduled pruning. Our region’s typical pruning cycle is four to five years.
  • Tree location – Trees near high-voltage powerlines must be trimmed more extensively. In cases where trees are especially close to these lines, it may be preferable to remove the trees altogether.
  • Growth rate – Faster-growing trees need to be trimmed or pruned more extensively than those that grow more slowly. Fast-growing trees include black locust, willow or yellow poplar, which can grow 15 to 20 feet in just four years.