Maintenance Matters: Tree Pruning Makes A Difference

It’s easy to take your trees for granted. After all, you’re busy with work, family, home projects, running to the grocery store, and countless other life tasks. With everything else demanding your attention, it’s easy for your trees to be an afterthought. Unless a branch is hanging down conspicuously or a limb has dropped across the driveway, trees don’t exactly shout for attention.

But if you take the time to look and more importantly, know what to look for, your trees will be healthier, resilient, longer-lived and beautiful. Getting your trees pruned means your home and property will also be safer.

Pruning Is Key

An essential component of tree care is pruning your trees. Pruning your trees will control their size and shape and, more importantly, will reduce the hazards created by dead, dying, or diseased branches and limbs. This means:

  • Your trees will be stronger structurally as weak limbs and branches will no longer compromise their integrity.
  • Property damage and injuries can be minimized by cutting away weak, diseased, or dying branches and limbs.
  • Correct pruning prevents trees from becoming entangled with or damaging powerlines. A falling tree or heavy limb can easily take down or damage a powerline, creating a serious safety hazard and at the least, disconnecting power to a home or homes until power company work crews can make a repair.
  • Certain types of diseases and pests can be controlled, cured or eliminated by pruning affected branches and limbs.
  • Your trees will be better able to handle the extremes of weather common to the Louis and Springfield areas as well as in other areas of Missouri. Summer temperatures across Missouri can easily reach 95 to 100 degrees from late June through August and early September. Low amounts of rain in the summer are common in Missouri.

At the other end of the temperature spectrum, Midwest winters can bring sub-zero temperature, heavy snow and ice can be devastating for weak or diseased trees. Heavy rain and flooding are almost an annual event in Missouri, especially in the river valleys and tributary systems of the state’s many rivers, from the Mississippi and the Missouri to smaller rivers such as the Meramec, the Black River and many others.  High winds? They’re not uncommon in all but the summer months.

  • Pruning also contributes greatly to the overall health of your trees as weak or unneeded limbs are removed, reducing the stress on each tree and allowing more resources – water and nutrients – to get to more essential areas of each tree.
  • Pruning also plays an essential role in improving the appearance of your trees. Pruning weak, diseased or dying branches not only helps a tree’s healthy branches, in the long run it means the tree’s foliage is healthier and thicker, which helps the tree’s overall health and gives it a more vibrant appearance.

Pruning Involves More Than Just One Method

Professionally pruning a tree focuses on multiple methods, though each is tied directly to the tree’s health.

The first of these methods is cleaning. Cleaning is the removal of dead, dying, weakly attached or “low vigor” branches from the crown, or “branchy part,” of your tree.

The second is thinning the tree. Thinning the tree focuses on assessing which branches should be removed to allow increased light to penetrate the canopy of the trees, which in the long run means leaves on interior branches get more sun light. Thinning also helps air movement through the tree’s canopy, reduces the weight on heavy limbs and “sculpts” the tree, helping it retain its natural shape.

Thinning is important for most species of trees, but especially for the many large and leafy trees commonly found throughout St. Louis, Springfield and the state of Missouri. These species can include oaks, maples birches and numerous other deciduous trees.

Raising a tree is another important method of pruning. If you’ve every had to duck under a low-hanging tree limb above a sidewalk or walkway, you can appreciate the benefits of raising, which involves pruning those low branches, increasing clearance for pedestrians, vehicles, buildings, and fencing.

Reduction reduces the overall size of a tree, many times to increase power or utility line clearance. Reducing a tree’s height also results in reducing its horizontal spread. In reduction, an arborist prunes the leading branches and branch terminals to larger secondary branches. Effective reduction requires extensive knowledge of tree structure, but the pay off is a healthy, though smaller tree, that has excellent form, balance and structural integrity. Simply topping a tree (cutting away its upper portion) may be an effective way keep a tree from growing into powerlines, but it also destroys a tree’s aesthetics.

It’s important to note that each method of pruning is best performed by an ISA certified arborist. These professionals have years of training and hands-on experience in assessing exactly how a particular tree should be pruned, always keeping safety, the tree’s health and aesthetics in mind. Pruning is a science, but one that retains an artistic component as well. Your tree service team at Hansen’s includes a dedicated group of certified arborists who have in-depth knowledge of not only the most common species of trees in Missouri, but also understand the challenges posed by our area’s weather, soil and overall environmental conditions.

When Should You Have Your Trees Pruned?

Trees can be stressed by weather, soil conditions, disease, or invasive pests. A stressed tree can spiral into steadily worsening health and eventually die if not evaluated and given proper care. In many cases, that care comes in the form of pruning specifically targeting problem areas and helping the tree dedicate available nutrients and water to healing.

So, if you notice a tree has broken or hanging limbs, has limbs reaching near your home or power lines or if you have a mature or maturing tree that has never been pruned, then it’s time. NOTE: NEVER attempt to remove a tree limb that is touching or is close to a powerline and do not walk under a limb that is even close to a powerline.

It’s important to consider tree pruning to be a form of ongoing healthcare for your trees, just as you would view going to your doctor, dentist or eye doctor regularly. Just as you have your cholesterol checked and monitored or your teeth cleaned on a regular basis, preventing serious issues in the future, having your trees professionally pruning periodically protects their short-term and long-term health.

Regular pruning and assessment by a certified arborist can lead to problems being caught early and corrected through either pruning or means such as bracing or dynamic cabling. And just as with your health, in many cases, the sooner threats to the health of your trees are addressed, the more likely those threats can be successfully addressed.

Remember, your trees are valuable assets that beautify your home and property. Replacing a fully mature tree such as a 70-foot oak is prohibitively expensive. It’s much better to properly care for your trees and protect their health than to put off care until symptoms of health issues can’t be ignored.

Putting your trees on a regular pruning schedule can mean healthier trees that live longer, add more to your home’s appearance (and value), and have more success in treating diseases and/or infestations. The pruning schedule for your trees will vary, depending upon their species, weather, soil, environment, their current condition, and many other factors. However, an experienced arborist can assess your trees, prune them, advise you of their state and any ongoing concerns, give you instructions on how to care for them and recommend a timeframe for their next pruning.

Think of having your trees regularly pruned by professional arborists as an investment in your home and the trees that add so much to your home and to its look, feel and value. You’ll also notice over time that regular pruning means less pruning each time and better-looking, healthier, and more sturdy trees. You’ll come out a winner and so will your trees. And remember, not only will we prune your trees, we’ll also clear and haul away any branches, limbs or other green debris and recycle as much of it as possible. We’re committed to a green, healthy world in your backyard and beyond.

Do Your Trees Show Signs Of Disease? Storm Damage? Have They Never Been Pruned? Consult With The Experts At Hansen’s Tree Service Today!

Our certified arborists are experts at pruning trees to maximize their health, strength and beauty. They also are experienced at diagnosing stressed trees and developing effective treatments – including pruning and more – that may save your trees. Their extensive diagnostic experience can make a crucial difference when it comes to helping your trees. If your trees have never been pruned, or if you notice any damage, disease or signs of stress in your trees, turn to our experts for help. They’re here to help your trees AND you!

Contact us today and let our insured, experienced professionals take care of all your tree-related needs!





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