Prune With A Purpose

Agriculture, including horticulture and arboriculture, used to be done, to a great extent, by the calendar. The calendar approach has largely given way to a scientific research based approach. Research has shown, for example, that pruning should be done to meet certain objectives rather than according to time of year.

The old school approach had been that there was a certain time of the year when each tree or shrub species needed to be pruned. Research has now found that this isn’t true. Pruning should be done to meet specific objectives. Not just because the calendar says it is time.

Some pruning objectives include…

• Removing dead, dying, diseased, crossing or rubbing, diseased and hanging branches;

• Thinning the crown to help your trees better withstand wind;

• Raising the crown if branches are interfering with traffic;

• Opening a vista;

• Repairing storm damaged trees.

If any of these objectives exist, this would be a good time of year to have your trees, especially your deciduous shade and ornamental trees, pruned. The weather is cooler. There is more precipitation. The trees are preparing to stop photosynthesis for the season, drop their leaves and go dormant for the winter. In fact, winter itself is also a good time to prune, but only to meet your pruning objectives.

Regardless of your pruning objective, pruning is not a do-it-yourself job, especially if you have to leave the ground. There is a reason why we employ only highly trained people, and continue their safety training on a regular basis. And, why the cost of insurance is so high. Tree pruning is a dangerous profession.

2 comments on “Prune With A Purpose

  1. Your tree trimming staff needs to take a course in how to trim trees and not have them look like something out of a horror movie. I have lived at this address for 14 years and this is the worst trim job that has been done. i have talked to RGE about the work that you guys did on my trees. Also talked to the lady at your company and she was having someone come out here. oh! no one has call or come. That is not a surprise. i sure hope that you all sleep well at night after murder these poor tree.

    Mary DeCann

  2. Hi, Ms. DeCann.

    Please excuse my delay in responding to your comment to our blog on proper pruning; I was out of town last week.

    We trimmed trees at your home under contract to RG&E. As a result, we were subject to very rigid utility specifications. These new specifications are mandated by the New York State Power Authority, and carry substantial penalties for non-compliance.

    Our crews’ natural tendency is to retain trees’ natural form, even when pruning for utilities. The utility’s and NYSPA’s motivation is maintaining the uninterrupted flow of electricity.

    More times than we like, trees are sited in such a way that we cannot prune for aesthetics while still meeting these new utility standards. In such cases, we often recommend removing the trees completely and planting a new trees a sufficient distance from power lines.

    Dave Dailey, President
    Birchcrest Tree & Landscape

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