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Pruning, also known as, “trimming,” is done to aid in the development of good structure in growing trees and shrubs. It involves the removal of crossing, co-dominant, dead, diseased, dying or broken limbs to prevent the spread of diseases and safety hazards. If improperly done, it can be a source of stress on mature trees and shrubs and that is why our highly experienced Arborists make all cuts according to the ANSI A300 standard. This practice allows for maintaining space between buildings, streets, utility lines and other plants and providing necessary clearances while preserving and improving the natural structure of trees and shrubs. Learn more about our pruning options and best practices below!

Maintenance Pruning

This is commonly called “crown cleaning,” and it aids to establish proper branching structure to develop a stronger, healthier tree canopy. It involves the selective removal of crossing, co-dominant, dead, diseased and dying limbs.


This type of pruning is done to keep a tree from encroaching too closely on a structure. Any small limbs within the target buffer space (distance specified on a proposal) between the structure and nearest smaller limbs would be removed. If a main trunk or scaffold limb is within the buffer zone, it would not be removed without the tree owner’s consent. Small ornamental trees are cleared 1-2 feet from structure, medium shade trees cleared 2-4 feet, and larger shade trees from 6-10 feet. Canopy overhanding roof of structure is usually expected and would also be pruned.
Usually done for aesthetic and/or functional purposes and done at customer’s request. This practice of pruning targets the lower outer edge area of the canopy and can be accomplished by only removing smaller limbs as opposed to the main limbs proceeding from the main trunk. To achieve a desired height, main scaffold limbs may be removed as a tree matures, but raising a tree too much is not recommended. The height of raising indicates the space between the ground surface and the nearest part of the lower outer canopy, so a tree on a sloped surface would end up with a lower canopy matching the angle of the slope beneath it.


Our highly experienced Arborists do not encourage these techniques for good tree health. If these types of techniques are requested, it is likely because the tree is too large for the location. It would be recommended for the tree to be removed and replaced with a tree more suitable for the location and that will mature into the desired height.

Thinning – cutting the limbs to the point of origin
Topping – involves large cuts that can lead to decay

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