Category Archives: Trees

Tree Care Tree Pruning | Pruning Your Trees

Tree Care Tree Pruning | Pruning Your Trees

When it comes time to prune a tree, you should arm yourself with a few facts before you start. You should know and understand your trees growth habit, understand the proper way of pruning, and above all, assure your own safety.

Know your trees natural growth habit.

Trees are genetically predisposed to certain shapes. finding your trees natural shape will give you a lot to go by. If it is naturally conical, it will continue to grow into that shape, no matter what you do. If the tree has a rounded habit, it will grow rounded. Study the tree and learn it’s natural shape.

Prune to a lateral branch.

If you need to thin the branches a little, that is no problem. Find the base of the unruly branch.

Make a clean cut just outside the callous

You will notice some callous at the base of the connection. make your cut just outside of this. This area of your tree contains a lot of growth producing cells. When you remove the branch, the cells will kick in quickly to start the recovery process. This will be seen in the form of more callous.

Large Oak Tree

Ragged edges slow healing and invite disease. Never cut part of a branch off and leave the rest sticking out. If you do, this will allow the remaining part of the branch to die back, inviting disease and insects into the tree. eventually it will rot away, leaving a knot hole which will allow water inside to further degrade the infrastructure of the tree. Always cut back to a base or a lateral branch.

Support the branches you remove.

As you prune, make sure the branch you are taking off is supported, so that it won’t peel away your trees bark. If it is to heavy, tie it off, or use a three cut method. That is, make your first cut several inches away from the lateral branch, so that the majority of the weight is removed before you make the final cut. You should also make a cut underneath and closer to the tree than the first, so that if it starts to peel bark, it will stop when it reaches this cut.

Do not use pruning paint.

Do not use pruning paint! I know you have always been told to, but don’t do it. The materials in the paint will not allow for the proper healing of the wound. the callous will only develop where there is no paint.

Do not top or “pollard” a tree

Why not top? If you top a tree, you will notice a sudden burst of young tender growth in the spring. Some people think this indicates a healthy tree. In actuality, it is the trees last ditch effort at survival. It is a mode similar to a human being gasping for air. The new growth will be poorly connected, and will be easy prey to insects, fungus, and disease.

Now, if you have any doubts about the truth of what I am saying, just walk around your neighborhood for a while with what I have said implanted in your mind. You will immediately see the truth of what I am saying. It is self evident.


  1. Know your trees natural growth habit.
  2. When you prune, prune to a lateral branch.
  3. Make a clean cut.
  4. Cut just outside the callous of the limb or branch connection.
  5. Never leave stubs or nubs of branches. (Number 4 above.)
  6. Support the branch being removed. Make three cuts if needed.
  7. Do not use pruning paint.

Safety first!

Be sure to wear your protective gear, so you don’t saw off the wrong limb! Keep an eye out for low hanging power lines and avoid getting close to them with your equipment. Avoid any situation where a limb, or any other part of the tree could fall on you.

Landscape Tree Care And Pest Prevention

Landscape Tree Care And Pest Prevention

Part five in our pest prevention series

Trees are the masters of the landscape. An ugly, poorly shaped tree can make the rest of your property look ugly a, well groomed tree can cover a multitude of landscape sins. Since trees dominate the landscape, it is important to give them proper care.

Trees and pest control

A properly maintained tree will be healthy, and a healthy tree wards of pests. A badly trimmed tree will encourage pests which endanger the health of the tree, and can promote insect invasion.

Proper tree pruning

Proper pruning is essential both for the health of the tree, and for avoiding pest problems. A tree with limbs touching the home is a pathway to insects and rodents. If you lop that limb off at random, and leave torn bark, and stubs of limbs sticking out, you are encouraging pests and disease which could eventually cause the early death of the tree.

Always prune back to the callous of a latter branch, support the limb to avoid tearing bark, make more than one cut when needed See Pruning Trees for more details on the best way to prune.

Such tears and stubs allow water and insects into a tree, encourage ants, termites, and other bugs and pathogens including fungi. Once these bugs get enough of your tree, they will attempt to get inside your home.

Whatever you do, do not top a tree. There is never a reason to do so! There is always an alternative.

Compaction and smothering

Trees provide shade, oxygen and beauty

Vehicles parked in a tree’s root zone will probably not compact the soil enough to kill the tree, but it may make it more difficult for the tree to stay healthy. If compaction is unavoidable, relive it by aerifying.

Avoid building up heavy layers of soil or other materials in the drip zone, and if you most build the area up, add no more than one inch per year, or provide an alternate system for supplying air and water to the root zone.

See part six in our pest prevention series: Sealing Homes For Pest Prevention

How To Kill A Tree

How To Kill A Tree

Are trees bad?

The way some home owners and tree companies treat trees, you might think that trees are evil, and should be destroyed! They are often treated poorly by people claiming to love and cherish them, and by those who’s job it is to protect, care for, and preserve them.

If you think that trees are bad things, and should be eliminated from your property, but fear the scorn of the neighborhood if you just cut them down, let me give you some advice on how to kill trees while appearing to be caring for them.

Trees, being the evil, and dangerous things they are, should be destroyed, so, your mission is this: Destroy something that it took you and nature years of cooperation to produce! We will accomplish this by the following means:


Topping, or, it is sometimes said, to pollard a tree, is a great way to kill a tree at a moderate speed! It will take the trees life just slowly enough to barely be detected, and fast enough to get it out of the way in plenty of time so that the grandchildren don’t have to see the hideous thing. Let’s just whack off the top, wherever we like, and leave it open for disease, that will cause the limbs to die back to a healthy branch, and let water seep into it, to rot it. Then there will be a new flush of young, poorly arranged, badly connected shoots, to invite in more disease and fungus.

Use poor pruning techniques

A slower death can be brought about by a more subtle approach.

Leave stubs and nubs

When thinning the limbs, don’t cut back to a lateral branch, just leave a few inches sticking out to rot and prevent healing. As this nub slowly rots away, we can invite more water, and disease into the main part of the adjoining limb, causing it to eventually rot, causing the next limb to rot…

Make ragged cuts

When you prune, make sure that you don’t support the limbs, or make the cut in 2 or 3 segments, this will allow the bark to be pulled away from the area around the cut. This will stop the flow of nutrients to the area, drying it out, and then allowing more more water to settle in pockets inside the bark. This water will allow for the build up of fungus, and keep the wound from healing This is another great way to invite in disease.

Use pruning paint

If you happen to accidentally make a proper cut in the proper place, don’t worry, just spray on some petroleum based products, to keep it from healing or callousing over. The best product for this is a cleverly miss-named product known as pruning paint.This will really fool the neighbors.

The right way to prune

Well, I think you get the picture. I have worked in this industry for many years, and it still amazes me. I see it all the time, being done by “professionals” who should know better. The odd thing to me is that it is self evident, and yet, people persist in doing it. All that needs to be done to prove my thesis, is to look at the results! Take a walk around your block, and look at the trees in the neighborhood. The truth of what I have said will be obvious.

For tips on the right way to prune see: Tree Care Tree Pruning | Pruning Your Trees