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Pruning trees in Winchester, VA 22601

Finally some rain in Winchester! Hopefully it isn't a short burst. It is usually bad a idea to prune trees in the heat. There are exceptions of coarse based on priority, species, goals, etc..... It is extra bad when in drought. The trees are already stressed and lacking resources. NEVER prune an Oak in the summer months. Insects are also active and can carry different types of fungus that spread through open wounds. Weigh risk to reward when choosing to prune in the summer. After the leaves have fallen, trees have peak stored energy. They can best allocate resources to cuts. No matter who is making a cut on a tree, it is considered a wound. Trees do not heal but seal. Put your trees in the best position to survive pruning cuts by waiting til the fall or early winter!

Edit: Things we do to trees now don't always have an immediate effect. If there is a quick response then it was probably not good. Like pruning a tree aggressively in drought and then the leaves fall off prematurely. Topping trees is a slow death by 1000 cuts. IMO 75% of pruning done is unnecessary and actually causes more harm down the line.

Topping stimulates irratic growth and turns the upper canopy into an overly thick bush. Where the cuts were made usually the tissue slowly decays before it properly seals. Now there is 3 times the weight on a weaker/damaged forever wound. The only answers are restoration pruning, removal or topping again. It's just signing up for more tree work. It's not tending to the trees. Pay once to top, pay again 3-5 years later to prune again, then another 5 years pay to remove. These are extreme timelines. Based on tree species results will very but the end result is always a damaged tree that is weaker and will require more work and money.

Never take more than 25% max of any given tree at any given time. Even at 25% you should have a good reason. Trees produce foliage based on their size. It requires energy to produce new growth. The plan is to recoup that energy. Trees balance and acclimate to their environment on their own or they don't. Sometimes we can help but a lot of times we are just trying to control nature. Planting the right tree in the right area is probably a better path than maintaining a tree.

Yes, pruning can reduce stress from weight and create more air and light throughout the canopy.

Walnut trees for example have had insane growth rates the last 2 years. An overproduction of larger fruit as well. A lot of limbs on Walnuts are now sagging. I have seen more damaged limbs from storms in Walnut trees recently. The answer is weight reduction pruning. I guess my point is to understand why we are pruning. Have goals and make it make sense.

My pruning goals are usually:

*raise the lower canopy for anesthetics, mowing and visibility(curb appeal, traffic and line of sight).

*remove any hazardous dead or declining limbs. Like exfoliating your skin, remove the dead so the live can flourish.

*remove less dominant crossed up or touching limbs. One or both will suffer in the long run.

*weight reduction and clearance if necessary. This is where we sometimes concede proper pruning for a specific goal. Sometimes we have to cut so much of a limb the gain clearance from a structural, that it makes more sense to remove the entire branch back to the trunk.

*maintenance thinning is just deleting redundancies in the crown to make it less crowded.

Things to avoid:

*topping

*cabling

*liontailing

*spiking live trees

*random blunt cuts

*cutting too deep into the branch collar

*just overall pointless cuts especially on mature trees


Old Town Tree Services is the top rated tree company located in Winchester, VA. Call today for a free estimate and consultation from one of our local arborist. We are licensed and insured.

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