Tree pruning helps address tree risks, structural soundness, shape, appearance, and potential sources of decay. Periodic tree maintenance is required in order to promote the health, integrity, and beauty of any tree. It is essential that a trained professional inspect each tree to determine the proper method of pruning required. Pruning is an art that should be entrusted only to trained arborists who understand the proper pruning methods required to encourage healing and prevent decay once pruning is completed.

Fruit trees and many ornamentals are best pruned or shaped during the dormant season to prevent spread of various diseases.

6 Reasons for Tree Trimming and Pruning

1. Aesthetic Value
2. Clearance from Utilities
3. Reduction in safety hazards
4. Clearance from structures
5. Structural Soundness
6. Training of Young Trees

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General Tree Trimming

This method is used as preventive maintenance by removing dead wood 1/2" or larger, damaged or broken branches, and cutting back branches to provide minimal clearance. General trimming is required on trees that have been properly maintained in the past. 

Crown Reduction

Cutting back ends of branches reduces length and weight which allows for the reduction in volume of a tree or reduction in leverage of a limb. Unlike topping, a method we do not endorse, ends are removed at indiscriminate natural unions on a branch to help maintain a natural branch pattern and reduce possibility of decay or infestation. This method or pruning can be done to an entire canopy or only a section of it to satisfy various objectives.

Crown Raising

Cutting off branches to provide vertical clearance is a method known as crown raising. It is essential to understand proper pruning techniques so to not damage the integrity and appearance of a tree.

Crown Thinning

The removal of specific branches within a canopy of a tree can help reduce the density of foliage to meet various objectives.


  • Increased light penetration
  • Increased air circulation
  • Increased visibility
  • Reduction of weight
  • Reduction of wind resistance
  • Branch crossing


It is recommended that a maximum of 25% of the foliage be removed when performing crown thinning.

Crown Shaping

Similar to the crown reduction method pruning branch ends a specific locations allows for the desired forming of the crown. Ends are removed at indiscriminate natural unions on a branch to help maintain a natural branch pattern and reduce possibility of decay or infestation.


This method is typically used on smaller trees and is not recommended for large mature trees.

Hazard Reduction

The removal of loose, damaged, broken, split, decayed and dead branches can help protect against storm damage and the hazard of falling limbs. Typically, we focus on branches of diameters larger than 2". Scenarios where this method of trimming is recommended are;


  • Branch is over leveraged
  • Limb is split or damaged
  • Limbs are creating a wind curtain
  • High public activity in close range
  • Eliminate interference with structures, vehicles, or public

Appearance and Restoration Pruning

Appearance and Restoration Pruning is essential for the longevity and beauty of a tree. This method of pruning is essential in mature trees that may have begun to lose their characteristics. Restoration may also be required after storm damage or loss of large limbs.


Proper pruning of young trees is performed to develop structural integrity and ensure desirable branch architectural. This method of pruning can help reduce future costly problems or the need for additional support as the trees mature. This form of pruning is frequently overlooked because young trees seldom provide any kind of inconvenience.

Problems that may arise if young trees are not trained properly are:

• Development of multiple stems or leaders
• Weak branch structure
• Uneven canopy
• Dense foliage

Pruning young trees is critical to the long term health of the tree. This pruning helps maintain dominant leaders where proper branch growth can occur. Proper training of young trees will lead to overall healthier, aesthetically pleasing, and strong trees.

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