Tree fools” cutting trees for “beer money” is classic. It’s so sort of sad to think that after so many years and in so many regards, we have come so far to still be so close to the starting line! Everytime you set your face to prune a tree, you have the opportunity to do something of lasting value to another living being. Think about it. Have a plan in mind before you begin cutting. What are you trying to accomplish, and how are you going to get there? Locate the obvious “gotta go’s” :

  • The firm of D, D and D. Mr. Dead, Mr. Dying and Mr. Diseased. You’ll note that Mr. Dead is ranked first. He has seniority. He has been at the branch office the longest.
  • Crossing, rubbing, or interfering limbs.
  • Weak branches, look for V crotches and codominant stems.
  • Excess interior growth, also called watersprouts or epicormic growth.

Try to maintain the following pruning priciples whenever practicable.

  • Start in the top of the crown. You’ll have to make the long climb only once.
  • Do not distrub a full crown or overthin it. Just remove the A through D gotta go’s above. Leave healthy foliage as undisturbed as possible. The more shade you can provide the interior of most trees, the less problem you’ll have with sunburn and excessive sprout growth. If a competent arborist has a problem with pruning style, it’s usually in taking out too much rather than not removinf enough. Many tree problems are the direct result of overthinning.
  • Strive to achive a uniform distribution of foliage.
  • Avoid the stripping, or liontailing, of limbs from the inside to the tips at all costs.
  • Learn the occasions when making numerous small cuts is preferable to taking out one large limb.
  • Learn when the removal of one larger limb is the best method to achive the desired effect.
  • Try to plan for a finish contour that maintains the natural habit of growth of that species.
  • Always strive to make a properly placed pruning wound. It doesn’t make any difference how good the tree looks accros the street, if the finish cuts are too flush or have ripped stubs.