Austin Tree Pruning (Trimming)
The one thing we see most often in the Austin and surrounding area is the over pruning of trees - the removal of perfectly good green foliage for no reason at all. The only part of a tree that produces food is the leaf and the leaf surface. Unnecessarily removing green tissue from trees makes for a weaker tree. Few trees have too many leaves. In fact, the opposite is usually true.
Over pruning stresses a tree and leaves the interior of the tree open to a condition called sunscald. All too often, it also makes for a tree more likely to break in a storm. When the wind hits the side of a tree, the more foliage that there is to absorb the wind's energy, the less the tree will move. When a tree has been over pruned leaving only a few leaves left at the ends of the branches, the wind will break the limbs as they swing wildly from side to side. With over 35 years of experience pruning trees and leaving them looking thick and healthy, our clients have far fewer storm related problems with their trees than the folks who had their trees over-pruned of "thinned."
Poor pruning practices of the past often come back to haunt us. Prior to 1972, the pruning standard within the tree industry was to perform a flush cut - cutting a branch as close as possible to the parent stem or trunk. We know now that is one of the worse things one could do a tree. At the base of a branch is a natural zone of protection called a branch collar. Flush cuts removed this protection zone leaving the entire diameter of the stem at the time of the injury open to decay and cracks. Yet today, many tree companies continue with this destructive method of pruning. The result will be weaker trees in the future.
The pruning of a tree should consist of the removal of dead, dying, broken, or stubbed branches. The only green tissue that is removed should be limited to low limbs over roofs, drive, sidewalks, or streets. Low limbs over yards can be raised to make it easy to walk or play beneath a tree as needed.
We're often asked to thin a tree in order to allow more light to reach the grass below. Usually, the grass is being poorly cared for and the tree is being blamed for poor lawn care. In Austin, our most common grass, St. Augustine, actually does better in thick shade than it does in full sun when properly cared for by the owner.
Pruning serves a very necessary purpose. Dead wood in a tree is cellulose - a compound sugar. As food for wood boring insects and infection courts for decay causing fungal organisms, removing dead, dying, and broken limbs in a timely fashion eliminates many of the problems caused by these organisms.
At Austin Tree Specialists, our arborists and climbers are trained to remove only what is necessary when a tree is pruned and no more. Using the latest ANSI A-300 pruning standards, our clients' trees are left full and natural looking.
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