The Dangers of Improper Tree Trimming

Trimming trees is an important tree care activity.  When you trim your trees, you are able to remove dead or diseased branches, reduce burdensome weight from the tree, and promote new and healthy growth.  However, like many activities, tree trimming is only helpful when it is done right.  When tree trimming is done improperly, it can actually cause more problems for the tree than simply doing nothing.  Here are a few negative consequences that can result from improper tree trimming.

Marred Beauty

One of the difficulties of properly trimming a tree is that it is hard for an untrained trimmer to know where to make cuts as well as how to make them.  Common mistakes include cutting branches off the tops of the tree (topping), trimming the ends off the ends of the branches (tipping), and cutting a disproportionate number of branches from one area of the tree.  All these can cause trees to look awkward, and sometimes it can take a long time to outgrow the effects of a bad trim!

Diseased Branches

When you trim a tree, you are making a cut into the wood.  This is by definition an injury to the tree.  Open wounds on a tree can easily allow pests and organisms inside and cause infection.  Though disease may begin in these areas of weakness, there is no guarantee that they will stay there.  Infection or infestation can have a harmful effect on trees and may even lead eventually to death and the necessity for removal.

Weakening Trees

When improper pruning techniques are used and disease results, trees can quickly become weakened.  Sometimes the inner wood of the tree becomes less dense or even dies while the outward, visible parts remain looking normal.  A weakened tree is a dangerous tree.  While trees can go on looking outwardly strong, an undetected weakness will make the tree vulnerable.  Strong winds, ice, or any jarring hit can cause branches to break or even entire trees to fall.

Property Damage

In addition to the long-term effects of improper tree trimming, there are also some immediate dangers.  When trimming large branches, you may accidentally drop a branch onto nearby property.  Branches are heavy and when falling from any height, they can cause quite significant damage.  These kinds of damage are easily avoidable by using properly trimming techniques, such as securing branches.

Personal Damage

Even more destructive than property damage is the potential personal damage that can occur.  Trimming trees is not without risk to the trimmer.  Falling branches as well as accidental injury from trimming tools (such as chainsaws) are the most common causes of damage.  These kinds of injuries can be serious and even fatal.  It is important to use the utmost care when using such powerful tools on large, heavy trees.

As you consider the harm that can result from improperly trimming trees, you may come to the conclusion that this is a job that is best left to the professionals.  Our tree technicians and arborists know the best techniques to quickly and safely trim your trees.  We will trim your trees properly in order to leave them stronger, healthier, and more beautiful than before.  Schedule your tree trimming today by calling 317-298-8482 or scheduling online.

Why Winter is a Good Time for Tree Trimming

tree trimmingDuring winter, many of us enjoy the break we get from outdoor maintenance work.  While the other three seasons may have us outdoors mowing, planting, pulling weeds, or raking leaves, winter demands relatively little outdoor work.  However, tree trimming is one outdoor task that can be done in winter.  In fact, there are some good reasons why winter is a good time for tree trimming.

Branches Are More Visible in Winter

The frigid temperatures and biting winds make us hesitant to venture out into our yards to perform regular tree trimming maintenance in winter.  Nevertheless, in some ways, winter is the easiest time to trim trees.  Without foliage in the way, the shape and structure of the tree is more plainly seen.  Branches that are diseased or dead are easier to spot and remove.  Likewise, branches growing contrary to the overall growth pattern of the tree can be quickly identified and pruned.  The cold days of winter also freeze the ground, which simplifies the task of getting larger tree-trimming equipment to the tree.

Trees Are Dormant in Winter

Trees can be trimmed at any time during the year, but winter is optimal due to trees’ dormant state.  Throughout the spring and summer, trees are working hard to grow and produce.  They are taking in sunlight and transforming it into usable energy through photosynthesis.  Depending on its variety, trees may produce flowers and fruit in addition to leaves.  But in winter, all activity stops.  Trees become dormant and rest for a season.  Dormancy is the perfect time to trim trees because there are no other competing activities going on within the tree.

Trees Are Better Protected from Disease in Winter

The cold weather of winter protects trees after a trimming.  Any cut into a tree (just like a cut in your skin) is an opening for infection.  Microbes and pests can use these wounds as an entrance into the tree, which may result in the development of disease.  Yet in winter, many pests are dormant too.  Bacteria, fungi, and insects are less likely to infect a tree trimmed in the winter.

Spring’s Growth is Just Around the Corner

One reason for trimming trees is to stimulate increased growth.  Getting rid of dead, dying, diseased, or misshapen branches ensures that energy will not be wasted on these branches.  Instead, the energy will go to healthy branches.  Trimming just before spring gets trees ready for the season of most prolific growth.  Trees are able to produce more abundantly and grow more vigorously after a winter trimming.

Winter Trimming is Not Right for All Trees

Trimming in the winter is good for most trees, but not all.  Trees that flower in the spring, such as lilac or ornamental flowering trees, should not be trimmed in winter.  The bloom buds are already set and trimming will cause a loss or reduction of bloom.  These trees should be trimmed immediately after blooms fade to minimize bloom loss for the next year.

Tree trimming in winter is beneficial for your trees, but it is not necessarily convenient for you.  If you want to get the benefits of a winter tree trim without having to brave the elements, Ping’s is always here to do the hard work for you.  With our years of experience, wealth of expertise, and fleet of equipment, trimming trees is a snap, no matter the season.  Call us at 317-298-8482 or visit us online to schedule an appointment today.

Winter Is Coming!

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Fortunately we missed out on Winter Storm Jonas and the massive amounts of snow it dropped on the east coast. However, winter is not over yet. Even though we had a little warm up this week, meteorologists predict that February is going to be a very snowy month for us here in the Indianapolis area.

Winter storms and heavy snow can cause severe stress and damage to trees. If your trees experience damage from these types of storms, there are a few things for you to consider.

  1. Assess the Minor Damage. If your trees have acquired minor damage with only the smallest branches being injured, then generally there is no major threat to the tree. You may need to clean up the broken twigs and branches or have the crown thinned of bent or twisted limbs. But overall, the tree shouldn’t be in danger or distress.
  2. Asses the Major Damage. Tree damage that consists of large broken branches, missing bark that has been torn off, or trunks that are splintering can be signs of major damage and pose a risk to the health of your tree. That tree may require more maintenance or may need to be removed. A certified arborist is able to evaluate the health and safety of your tree in this situation.

 

Note: If it has been determined that the tree is not worth saving, have it removed as soon as possible. Leaving the tree to die can result in it becoming a hazard tree which increases the risk to yourself and the tree crew that will remove it. Increased risk requires special tools and techniques to safely remove the tree and will therefore increase the cost of the tree care work.

So whether it’s minor or major damage, take time to do a quick evaluation of your trees after a winter storm. If there is any damage, we’d love to help. Ping’s Tree Service offers a FREE Estimate on pruning, trimming, and tree removal services.


 

Tree Topping . . . what is the alternative?

In our last blog we discussed several points on why tree topping is harmful to your trees. Trees that have been topped suffer starvation, shock, insect infestation, decay, weak limbs, and even death. There are no situations when we would ever recommend having your tree topped. So, what can you do instead of tree topping? Here’s what we recommend.

Canopy Reduction. This practice is the removal of small limbs from their point of origin. No more than 25% of the tree’s foliage should be removed, based on its species and health.

Crown-Raising-Before-AfterInterlimbing or Thinning. This method is best when you prefer your view to be through a tracery of green. Removing selected branches up the trunk provides partial views through the tree and will let more sunlight into your back yard if your trees were blocking it out. Thinning also creates paths for strong winds to move through the tree instead of pushing against them, allowing your tree to withstand those winds.

Raising the Canopy. This process opens up a view by removing the lower limbs of a tree. All branches are cut from the ground up to the desired level. These lower limbs give less energy for the tree’s growth, so the tree can tolerate their removal. To achieve a pleasing shape, be careful not to limb up higher than half the visual height of the tree. If the tree looks top heavy, you can thin out some of the higher branches.

Although these techniques are simple to understand, tree pruning can be dangerous and complicated and is best performed by a professional. To ensure your trees have an aesthetically pleasing shape, consult with a Certified Arborist and make sure to stay away from anyone who suggests tree topping as an option.


 

Tree Topping – Why it’s NOT recommended by your tree doctor

Any good tree service company will tell you that tree topping isn’t a good practice. Topping consists of drastically cutting back or removing large branches on mature trees. Not only does this leave the tree looking ugly, but it also causes severe damage to the tree’s health. Often times, homeowners feel their tree has grown too large for the space, or they fear their large tree could become a hazard during a strong storm. Tree topping is NOT the solution for several reasons.

1. Starvation.  Leaves produce starches during photosynthesis. The tree then moves these starches to the roots for storage and conversion into the much needed nutrients for the tree to grow and tree topping 1thrive. Tree topping, however, removes so much of the leafy crown that the tree may be unable to produce enough starch to properly nourish itself, leaving the tree to starve.

2. Shock.  The crown of the tree acts as a barrier between the hot summer sun and the bark of the tree. Removing a large portion of the crown exposes the bark to sun scald, shocking the tree with direct sunlight. This can result in poor health and even the death of your tree.

3. Insect and Disease.  Tree topping cuts can produce large wounds that are difficult to heal because of the location and size of the cuts. These open wounds on the stubs of the tree are a welcome mat to insect infestation and the spread of disease and decay fungi.

4. Weak Limbs.  New limbs that develop from the cuts grow only from that point on and are not an extension of the parent branch. Many times these new limbs are weakly attached to their parentlimb, with not more than an inch of wood.

5. Rapid New Growth.  Instead of controlling the height and spread of the tree, topping actually encourages rapid new growth. Trees respond to the cuts by sprouting many long limbs resulting in a taller and bushier tree.

6. Death.  Some tree species do not tolerate tree topping. They sprout only a few new limbs and therefore lack the leaves necessary to capture sunlight to produce glucose. Without this much needed nutrient, the tree simply dies.

7. Appearance.  Plain and simple, a topped tree is ugly. Even with the new growth, the tree will never regain its original beauty. It will no longer be a valuable asset to the surrounding landscape.

8. Price.  You need more than a ladder and a chain saw to properly prune a tree. Tree topping may be cheaper to accomplish, but the overall higher price will be reflected in the lowered property value, removal and replacement cost when the tree dies, declining health of nearby trees and shrubs reacting to the change in sunlight, liability risks from weak branches, and higher costs for future trimmings.

Want alternatives to Tree Topping? Check back for our next blog coming soon.


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