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Why is expert tree pruning so important?

The view looking up a tree trunk from the roots.

Written by joshm

March 28, 2023

3/23/2023 By Ezekiel Willard Principle of Idaho Tree Preservation LLC

Expert tree pruning does much more than just make your trees look good! According to the ANSI standard one of our main goals in tree pruning is to reduce risk, which requires a knowledge of things like tree biology, tree bio-mechanics, species specific traits and tree physiology.

Many people can climb your tree (or use a lift to access the canopy) but do they have the skill and knowledge to do what is best for the tree? We often hear “it’s what the customer wanted” when a tree pruner shares a photo of some poor pruning work. What this statement does not account for is the level of skill and knowledge it takes to provide proper care for your trees. We are here to guide and educate you about what is best for your trees, so that you can enjoy them for many years to come.

As ISA Certified Arborists, we must continue learning all the time. This means we are learning about the new science and research that is happening. This allows us to provide you the best possible care, in all facets of tree care.

Pruning can easily do much more harm than good, and poor pruning can easily make trees more likely to have parts fail. It is so critical that we understand how what we do to the trees will impact its ability to withstand weather events, loads and gravity. In reality, less really is more when it comes to pruning. If your tree care company can not answer the question “why is this tree part being removed” they need to put the saw down, and step away from the tree!

Another serious consideration is the size of the cuts. Too often we see large limbs being amputated, which can be very hard on the trees. These large cuts create large wounds, which take a long time to close up, and while they are open, so is the door for decay organisms. Of course there are times where there is no other choice but to make a larger cut than we may like. In those cases there are ways to approach the work that minimizes the negative impacts to the tree. A skillful and knowledgeable arborist will know how to deal with these issues, with your trees well-being in mind. Idaho Tree Preservation follow the German standard of no cut more than 4 inches in diameter without very good reason. The smaller the cut, the easier for the tree to deal with it,

Let’s talk about leaves. Trees are what are known as autotrophic, which means they make their own food. This happens in the trees leaves and this is why it is so important not to over prune trees. This removes the food factories, which forces the tree to use stored energy to make more leaves. I am sure you have seen a tree with a lot of small, upright growth in the center of the canopy, or around a large pruning wound. That is the tree saying “you took too many of my food factories and need to make more!”. This stresses the tree, which is exactly what we do not want. Growing trees in this climate is already full of stressors, one of those does not need to be the person who is supposed to be caring for your trees.

Arboriculture is a highly skilled and scientific endeavor. Gone are the days of wood cutters who wear spikes to prune trees, or make pruning decisions based on what they can reach, or what the neighbor wants. We have an amazing volume of research and education available to us, and anyone you hire to care for your trees should be using that valuable information.

Whomever you hire should be ISA Certified at least. Here at Idaho Tree Preservation, we have some of the highest levels of certification available. The ISA Board Certified Master Arborist is the highest level of ISA certification one can achieve. As of October 2022 there were less than 1100 BCMA in the entire world. The American Society of Consulting Arborists Registered Consulting Arborist is also one of the highest levels available, and our owner, Ezekiel Willard hold both of those. But it is not just the owner who holds credentials. Every one of our field staff hold certifications.  From ISA Certified Arborist (4 as of this writing), 4 ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified Arborists, TCIA Tree Care Specialists, 5 Chainsaw and Chipper Specialists, 3 Plant Health Care Specialists and the list goes on. Our 9 field arborists hold a collective 54 different qualifications, making us the most highly qualified arborists in the state by ratio.

If you want amazing tree care, by highly skilled and passionate treeople, look no further than Idaho Tree Preservation.

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