Tree Pruning 

Trees are rad. Take care of what you have. 

-I said that.


You can talk with a few different "tree guys" and come away with different opinions on what’s best for the tree. Not to mention a few very different prices on the work. That can be frustrating. Who do you believe and why are the prices so different? But, let’s start with tree care basics instead of who you should choose for your tree care needs and their pricing. You're smart and will figure that out. 

Tree pruning is the most requested service. It’s really important to prune a tree. (The benefits are listed below.)

If it's done right and done early in the tree’s life, you don’t have to prune every year. In fact, this is true on mature trees as well. Less is more. Remember, we are working on an living organism.

A general pruning cycle trees is around 4-6 years. Unless you're training or restructuring a tree. Anything more is expensive for both you and the tree.

Benefits to pruning

  • Reducing risk of tree or tree part failure

  • Providing vertical and/or horizontal clearance

  • Reduce shade or wind resistance

  • Balance and symmetry

  • Maintain tree health and aesthetics

  • Improve flower and fruit production

  • Improve view




Pruning & Tree Risk 

Common problems with trees are unfortunately common but, they are often preventable too. Pruning can help reduce some risk. And knowing what to look for can help identify risk to your property or people. This isn't an exhaustive list, but here you go:

  • Regrowth from topping, line clearance, or other pruning

  • Broken or partially attached branches

  • Open cavity in trunk or branch

  • Dead or dying branches

  • Decay and rot present in old wounds

  • Recent change in grade or soil level, or other construction activity near trees. 

  • Tree is leaning


Pruning Standards

Here’s what to look for in a pruning recommendation, not only do these standards reduce confusion in terminology and scope of work, but they can also help protect you legally. Hiring the right tree service that follows the standards will save you time and money.

Minimum pruning specification requirements should include:

Identify and state which trees are to be pruned. 

  • A statement that all work shall be performed in accordance with ANSI A300 pruning standard and ANSI Z133.1 safety standard. Including clearly defined pruning objectives.

  • Specify the pruning methods to be performed to meet the objectives.

  • State the size specifications of the minimum and/or maximum branch size to be removed.

  • Specify the maximum amount (percentage) of live tissue to be removed.

Procedural Definitions:
ANSI A300 part 1 recognizes four basic pruning methods (type) for use on trees.

  1. Clean: Cleaning a tree shall consist of pruning to remove one or more non-beneficial parts: dead, diseased, and/or broken branches. Cleaning is the preferred pruning method for mature trees because it does not remove live branches, this method removes dead, damaged and dying branches or stems.

  2. Raise: Selective pruning to provide vertical clearance. When selectively pruning a tree for vertical clearance (raising) or horizontal clearance from a building, the desired clearance should be understood and specified.

  3. Reduce: Selective pruning to decrease the height and /or spread of a tree. This method is employed to minimize risk of failure, balance the canopy, height and spread reduction, utility clearance or to improve tree aesthetics. This methods uses reduction pruning cuts on live branches from 2”-6” in diameter. Not all trees can be reduced, especially old, stressed or mature trees could decline or become stressed from this technique.

  4. Thin: Selective pruning to reduce the density of small live branches. Proper thinning retains the crown shape and size and is employed to provide even distribution of foliage throughout the crown of the tree. Thinning should not exceed 25% of the foliage crown, especially in mature trees. 10-15% is the typical range for crown thinning.