Healthy Pruning Practices

We take our role as tree stewards seriously by engaging in healthy pruning practices.

As a general rule, pruning should not alter the natural form of the tree. In fact, if a tree has been pruned well it should be difficult to tell that it was pruned at all. A professional should know how to obtain objectives without compromising the aesthetics of the tree. Poor pruning can cause damage that a tree may never fully recover from.  

We advocate for these important pruning principles:

25% Rule

Trees deal with stress by shooting out even more growth.  This means that a year after an excessive pruning, a tree will have responded with a lot of long, gangly shoots. Sadly, the tree won’t necessarily be any smaller despite the hard prune and will absolutely be less beautiful. We minimize excessive regrowth and stress to the tree by only removing up to 25% of the canopy at a time.  This may mean several visits over time; however, we promise it will yield better results.

Spurless Climbing

The forest industry has typically used spurs to assist in tree climbing and, because we live in a forestry heavy region, forestry practices (like topping and spurs) can sometimes seem like the default. However, spurs damage trees by creating wounds which are entrance points for pests and disease. In the forest industry, the health consequences of spurs are not important because the trees are being harvested. By contrast, in the arboriculture field, because the future health of the tree is part of our mandate, we would not want to do anything that could compromise tree health and, except for removals, trees should never be climbed with spurs.

Climbing arborists are trained to safely climb trees without the aid of spurs. In fact, because we are not limited to movement up and down the trunk of the tree, a climber using a dynamic rope system, instead of spurs, can move about more freely and reach all parts of a tree’s spreading canopy. Our goal at Grow Tree Care is to maintain a healthy balance of what is good for the tree and meeting your objectives, and by climbing without spurs we can often do just that.

Developing new neighborhoods around existing trees.

We think large trees are a beautiful asset in any neighborhood development.  Unfortunately, often an arborist is only consulted once the site plan has already been made.  Then we are asked: “Which of the trees can we keep?  What new trees shall we plant?”

What if the questions were different?

What if we asked: “Which of the property’s trees are the healthiest and most beautiful? Where can we build in order to preserve those trees?”

Rather than asking, “how close can we build to these trees?”—what if the question was “how much space will these trees need to grow to their full potential?”

Our deepest wish is for anyone developing a property to begin their planning process by doing a tree inventory.  In doing so, many more of the nicest assets could be planned around with the ultimate result of more desirable neighborhoods.