Prune Your Tree, Don't Kill It
Pruning trees is only beneficial if it is done correctly. If it is not done correctly, there are numerous bad outcomes that are possible for the tree. Let’s look at some of them. All of the examples discussed here, unfortunately happened to the same tree, a 26” Pin Oak in West Springfield, VA. Because of the damage to the tree as a result of amateur pruning, the tree will have to be removed. The extensive canopy death and resulting decay make recovery impossible.
In this photo, we see a slight scar in the bark of the trunk. Close inspection reveals that the scar is made by a tree climber’s spike. There are hundreds of them all over the trunk and branches. Some have nearly healed and others have left open spaces in the bark and cambium tissue that is open to the elements and disease. This is the most careless of practices in tree pruning, as it is the result of laziness on the tree climber’s part. Spikes have no place in a tree that is not being removed, and thus killed. In pruning operations, climbers should employ rope climbing techniques that do not harm the live tissue of a tree. Every arborist knows this. Only the worst of amateurs prune trees while wearing spikes. And, despite their claims that they are doing no harm to the trees, we see the effects years after the fact as in this case.
In this photo, we see three different injuries. The first (marked #1 in photo) is the result of a flush cut. This cut was made four years ago, and the tree has not grown callous wood to close the wound. The reason for this is that the cut was made inside the branch collar. When cuts are made inside the branch collar, a tree will struggle to close the wound if it can close it at all. Number 2 is the result of a branch removal in which the cut limb tore a portion of the stem bark when it was removed. The result, like the flush cut, is a wound that never heals. Another cause of bark tearing is dull or improper tools. This is why you should insist on sharp, clean saws on your project. Number 3 is a massive amount of bark loss that could have been a result of all of the spike wounds in that section of the tree.
Photo 3 is a larger view of the damage that amateur pruning can do to an otherwise valuable tree.
Here we see the full picture photo 4 of a series of bad pruning practices leading to the death of a valuable tree. It will take more than 25 years to replace this tree, which served to enhance this Springfield home in many ways. This could have been avoided. When pruning trees, be sure to avoid the seven most common mistakes in tree pruning. Remember that an ISA certified arborist will observe good pruning practices and keep your trees safe from this fate.
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More About Tree Pruning
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Prune Your Tree, Don't Kill It Pruning trees is only beneficial if it is done correctly.
Tree Pruning Pruning or trimming involves the removal of branches or stems from trees and woody plants.
When Not To Use Gaffs Many of our competitors use climbing spikes on their feet to climb the trees to prune them. Not us!