Ask the Experts

When is the best time to prune my trees?

Lacking the proper technique, it doesn't matter when you prune. Pruning timing is best established in consultation with an Arborist. We prune oaks only from October through March. Other trees have specific timing questions based on your goal in pruning.

Can I prune my trees in the winter?

Winter is an excellent time to prune trees. After leaves fall branch structure is more obvious and pruning can be more effective. Although in some winters with heavy snow cover it's difficult to get a good clean-up job.

How can you tell which branch is dead?

Many signals of branch health are apparent in the fall and winter months. Branches lacking any bark are the most obviously dead. Branches with loose bark can be dead or perhaps dieing. Branches without the small twigs on the end can be dead, or the branch may be a live stub in which case it should probably be removed. Branches without buds on the ends of the twigs are dead. The least obvious sign of a dead branch is a branch with buds that are dead, dry or under developed. Dead buds on some tree varieties in the Midwest, such as locust, are even frustrating for experienced arborists to determine. To further complicate matters branches with leaves on in the winter (such as Norway Maples) can be newly dead.

Which trees should I hire a professional to prune?

Some confuse a large pile of brush on the ground after a tree is pruned with a good job being done. Believe it or not, you pay a professional for what is left on the tree. Our goal when pruning is to make things look natural when we are done. The reaction we are looking for is a quizzical, "Did you get your hair cut?" not a shocked "Wow, it looks like you got your haircut!"

What is a collar cut? A flush cut?

Cutting a branch from a tree properly means leaving the parent branch or trunk on the tree. Usually that means leaving the swelling where the branch and trunk are interwoven, the collar, intact. A flush cut permanently removes the swelling and eliminates thetrunk's natural ability to close over the wound.

So I should call you to prune once my trees are big?

We do large trees the most benefit by pruning them when they are small. Usually, when an enormous limb comes crashing down in a storm, the best way to have avoided it was to prune it off with a small hand pruner when the tree was young. Many limbs lost to storm damage were entirely predictable.

What is the difference between pruning and trimming trees?

The terms are almost synonymous except prune has a closer association to making cuts on plants, while trimming can also mean decorating a hat, a dress or a Christmas tree.

Will you need to bring heavy equipment on to my lawn?

In most cases no. If we do, we use plywood or other materials to protect the lawn from truck tires. Stump grinders and small turf-tired loaders do need to cross lawns when needed to finish the job. In some cases we use cranes to lift logs and brush to the street or other landing areas, in which case no equipment is on the lawn.

How do we start working on my trees?

Usually in one of two ways:

  • An arborist stops by and looks your trees over and leaves a proposal.
  • An arborist meets with you to hear your concerns, assess the job, hand you a proposal and goes over the proposal with you.
Either way, the proposal will outline the exact work to be done, and the price for each service item.


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