Tree Trimming or Pruning? What Should a Service in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA Be Doing?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Arborist pruning treeIf you feel as though your Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA home needs tree trimming, then you might be looking for a professional tree trimming service—one that will know exactly what they’re doing.

After all, your trees are important to you and while you don’t want to spend a fortune, you also don’t want to hire a company that will do something cheap that’s going to damage your tree or even cause it to die.

That’s why you’re looking to understand a bit more about what it involves. You want to make sure that you hire a company that’s doing what it’s supposed to.

First and foremost, you should know that tree trimming and tree pruning aren’t really the same thing—even though the terms are often used interchangeably.

  • Trimming is generally talked about in terms of shrubs and hedges and is a service used to tidy their appearance. More specifically, it’s generally talked about in terms of reducing their size and tightening their form.

  • Pruning, on the other hand, is performed on trees and shrubs whose health and growth capabilities are greatly improved when infected, dead, and broken branches are cut away with a skillful approach. It has an aesthetic impact, but it’s more than just “cleaning things up.” While it can minimally correct the overall size and shape of a tree, pruning is meant to correct the overall structure and health of the tree—not just chop off growth like most people imagine when they think of trimming a shrub.

Tree pruning is both an art and a science and is a lot more involved than most people realize. We’ll explain a little bit about what you should expect from a professional tree pruning service in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA.

Tree Pruning Techniques

arborist pruning tree to keep it healthyAs we mentioned, tree pruning is the process of removing specific branches or stems in order to benefit the tree as a whole.

Before you understand why proper tree pruning is so important, it’s helpful to understand CODIT, or the Compartmentalization Of Decay In Trees. This means that trees respond to threats by attempting to grow both internally and externally to compartmentalize an injury or decay.

Keep that definition in mind as we explain the four common tree pruning techniques that may be performed based on your specific needs and give you some insight on why that drives recommendations.

Let’s take a look at each of them and what they entail.

Crown Cleaning

When the objective of tree pruning is crown cleaning, the goal is to identify and remove the dead, dying, and diseased wood. By doing this, you’re aiming to prevent future problems, such as the advancement of decay.

A pruning cut is a purposeful injury, like a surgical incision. Removing a small branch or a limb that has decay in it gives the tree the ability to grow and compartmentalize where the cut was made—assuming it was made in the proper place and at the proper angle. The surgical cut reduces the chance of decay spreading to parts of the tree you can’t afford to lose.

This is why it’s ideal to prune trees while they are young and to prune often. Doing so will give your trees a better chance to fix small problems before they become big ones.

Crown cleaning could be considered the most basic form of tree pruning but is important in maintaining your tree’s health. This tree pruning service is needed every 2 to 5 years.

Crown Thinning

Tree shadow on short green grass in spring-1Similar to crown cleaning, crown thinning also aims to identify and remove dead, dying, and diseased wood. But on top of that, this method will also begin to remove some live limbs with the goal of reducing the overall weight of the tree. Crown thinning will remove about 20 to 30 percent of the tree’s growth uniformity.

Crown thinning doesn’t change the overall size and shape of the tree but should produce a uniformed density of foliage around an evenly spaced branch structure. One reason for crown thinning is to reduce wind resistance and in turn, reduce the risk of the tree uprooting in strong winds.

Crown thinning will also improve sunlight filtration. This can be beneficial for a diseased tree that is holding a lot of humidity. Allowing more sunlight to filter through can help dry out the tree. Crown thinning is generally performed on a 3- to 7-year rotation, depending on the species of the tree.
Again, doing this periodically while trees are young will go a long way. It’s also good to prune a branch before it rips and falls during a storm. Crown thinning will help prevent some of these storm damage issues later.

Crown Raising

When crown raising, the objective is to remove lower limbs of the tree and, as the name says, raise the crown. This tree pruning service would be performed for specific purposes, such as if the limbs are hanging over a sidewalk and need to be removed or if the lower limbs are blocking the view of a house and impacting curb appeal. Crown raising would be performed at the same time as crown thinning if we’re already performing that service.
Crown raising demonstrates why it’s important to prune often, and in particular, when trees are young. You can fix a problem like this early on, when only a small cut is necessary, as opposed to having to make a huge cut on a fully grown tree with massive limbs.

You can still prune trees with larger cuts. It doesn’t mean it will cause your tree to die. It’s just always better as a preventative measure early on.

Crown Reduction

You might think of crown reduction as a combination of the cleaning and thinning services. But whereas those two services do not change the overall size and shape of the tree, the ultimate goal of reduction is reducing the overall height and spread of a tree.

This is a service that would be performed on a tree that is getting too big for the area and needs to be scaled back. But it absolutely must be performed with precision as crown reduction can ultimately kill a tree if too many live limbs are removed. It’s important not to remove more than 25 percent of growth. Crown reduction is generally performed every other year and is only advised in some species of trees.

The Importance of Proper Tree Pruning

professionally pruned tree in lawnIt’s important to note that tree pruning must be done with precision and care. That’s because even receiving just one improper pruning could damage a tree for life. It may not die, but it will absolutely impact its development and structure.

That’s why it’s so critical that you don’t hire the wrong tree pruning service to prune your tree. If they ruin the tree it will negatively impact its value and maybe even create future problems such as increased maintenance or leaving the tree weakened and therefore more susceptible to pests or disease.

A big part of tree pruning is the knowledge and skill to know where to make cuts and it’s important to adhere to stringent guidelines. This is where having an ISA Certified Arborist can really make a big difference in the overall success of your tree pruning.

When a Problem Can’t Be Fixed

While tree pruning can improve the overall health of a tree and therefore prevent (and even fix) a lot of problems, it’s not a magic cure. For one, the right tree has to be planted in the right location in order to truly thrive. If this is not the case, your tree may never be fully healthy. While pruning can correct some problems due to improper planting for a time, there comes a point where more drastic measures will need to be taken as the tree will never reach optimal health and could even pose future hazards. At some point, if a tree was planted in a bad location, you may have to remove it.

Choosing a Tree Pruning Service in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA

Now that you understand what a good tree pruning service should be doing, you’ll want to make sure that you choose the best tree care service out there. One of the biggest factors to look for is extensive training. You want to be sure that whoever is working on your tree knows what to look for and makes smart cuts that benefit the overall health of the tree—doesn’t negatively impact it in any way.Joshua Tree tree service truck in Easton, PA

At Joshua Tree, we have 7 ISA Certified Arborists (and more taking the test at the time this was written), which is important as a Certified Arborist is trained to actually be able to identify and diagnose problems. They’ll know exactly where to make cuts to benefit the overall health of the tree.

By choosing the right company, you can rest assured that you’re doing what’s needed to protect your investment in your tree. Instead of causing you future problems, your tree will be on its way to better health.

Are you ready to work with a knowledgeable and skilled tree care company in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA? Get in touch with us to get some free expert advice and get a quote for tree pruning services. By choosing wisely you’ll have peace of mind your trees are in good hands.

Signs that you need tree pruning by a tree service in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA

Joshua Malik

Written by Joshua Malik

With an intense passion for arboriculture and lawn care, founder Joshua Malik brings to Joshua Tree over 20 years of experience in the tree and lawn care industry. And he expects the same passion in his team by employing representatives and field personnel who have achieved and maintained proper industry credentials to ensure clients benefit through best practices.