Trimming, also known as pruning, is a practice that combines aesthetics with tree health. Regular maintenance must be done to have a tree or shrub that brings value to a landscape. Without regular maintenance your trees and shrubs will develop a chaotic structure and have increased insect and disease activity. But how can that be?
When planted in the open, trees and shrubs tend to grow laterally (spreading) and take up more space. This lateral growth will hold the heavy spring snow, encroach on neighboring structures, and will often be damaged by heavy winds. Unchecked lateral growth will become a hazard in an urban setting. An arborist will prune and shape a tree or shrub to reduce inappropriate lateral branches. The result is a strong, attractive, and (somewhat) symmetrical tree.
Besides lateral reductions, an Arborist will also remove damaged branches. This could include storm damage, fully dead, dying, or diseased sections of the tree or shrub. Damaged branches should not be left on a tree or shrub because of insects, decay, fungus, and bacteria. All of these afflictions are exacerbated by rotting wood. Damaged branches tend to leave large openings in the main parts of the plant, and this is where insects choose to attack. Detrimental fungus grows easily where wood is damp and decaying, similar to bacterial infections. Furthermore, an excess of dead branches in a shrub will block airflow in the foliage which causes a decrease in vitality. It should also be mentioned that removing all the dead branches from trees and shrubs will have a fantastic effect on a landscape’s curb appeal!
For best results an urban tree in Colorado should be pruned every 2 to 4 years and a shrub should be trimmed or sheared every year. A tree that is pruned every 3 years will not need extreme and shocking, heavy-handed cutting. Arborists have developed different types of pruning.
Bullard Tree And Garden recommends different types of pruning:
Clearance Pruning- Just the necessary cuts to trim a tree back from a fence, building, power line, another tree, neighbor’s property, etc.
Canopy Cleaning - Just the necessary cuts to remove hazardous or unsightly branches. “Getting the dead out”
Full Arborist Pruning - This includes all necessary cuts as decided by the Arborist. Live branches that are crossing, conflicting, or co-dominating are removed or reduced. Long lateral branches and dense tips are reduced to prevent storm damage. All visible dead branches are removed from the tree. Healthy structure is developed through this type of pruning.