Proper Tree Pruning

Proper tree pruning saves money in the long term because healthy trees need less maintenance. Tree trimming encourages good tree structure and improves the aesthetic appeal of a tree. The best way to assure proper tree service is to hire a tree service company with International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists on staff. Credentialed ISA Arborists exhibit demonstrable knowledge and skills for the proper care of trees. ISA Credential holders continue their education to advance the tree service capabilities of their companies and themselves. Ross Tree Company is proud of its three full-time ISA Certified Arborists on staff. The Tree Care Industry Association developed an American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standard for tree pruning. Rather than merely sawing off limbs, proper pruning is a mix of art and plant physiology. Below are the types of standard-based pruning approved by ISA.

  • Mitigate Risk – Basic tree trimming reduces the chances of damage caused by falling limbs.
  • Manage Health – More advanced pruning improves tree structure and promotes healthy growth by removing dead or dying branches, diseased or infested branches, rubbing, weakened, or broken branches.
  • Improve Tree Structure – Pruning to a dominant leader mimics how trees grow in the forest – straight and strong.
  • Restoration Pruning – Restoration pruning redevelops tree structure and form after damage from storms or past substandard pruning.
  • Provide Clearance – Prune to prevent interference with property structures, sidewalks, street traffic, desired views, and other plants on a site. Clearance trimming also ensures safe utility clearance and meets city regulations.
  • Manage Size and Shape – Prune to reduce the size or maintain the desired shape according to tree species and location.
  • Regenerative Pruning – Regenerative pruning mimics the natural process of retrenchment by removing dead or weak branches, which reduces the risk of plant failure and stimulates new growth. The goal is to restore tree vitality and appearance.
  • Improve Aesthetics – Prune to improve the visual appearance of trees in an existing yard or landscape.
  • Manage Production – Trim trees to optimize the production of fruit, flowers, and timber.
  • Manage Wildlife Habitat – Pruning to improve wildlife habitats across a property, park, or right-of-way.

Working around large trees is hazardous. To reduce risk to its ground crews, climbers, and vehicles, Ross Tree Company embraces and follows the Arboricultural operations safety requirements as defined in ANSI Z133.

Tree Aerodynamics

Our arborists are seeing more wind damage in 2022 because Denver is having a breezy spring. A properly pruned tree allows wind to blow through the canopy without causing damage. Trees do this naturally in areas with constant high winds like Wyoming. Blue Spruces that grow thick coronal crowns in Denver are much less dense in the Cowboy State, allowing the gusts to flow through the tree. When a tree grows irregularly with many cross branches, heavy wind mixed with rain or snow can snap large limbs or even topple whole trees.

Denver is home to many Blue Spruces. Homeowners should resist the urge to prune out the bottom branches of these trees to open up their yards. Doing so removes the ballast of the tree and makes it top-heavy. Top-heavy Blue Spruces become susceptible to high wind damage. Homeowners concerned about the stability of their trees in high winds should give us a call.


Common Denver Tree Myths

tree care myths


Homeowners love their trees and enjoy their shade and ambiance, but most cannot identify the Maples, Oaks, Elms, Catalpa, or Lindens in their yards. Much of what property owners hear about tree care is incorrect. Hiring a certified arborist gives homeowners peace of mind knowing the company they hire prunes and trims their trees following generally accepted tree industry standards, not myths. Below are common myths that are harmful to trees.

  1. Myth #1: Pruning Trees Invigorates Them

    Certified arborists prune trees based on the individual needs of each tree. Some trees need a slight trim to mitigate risk and to improve tree structure. These techniques maximize the benefits of pruning while minimizing their harmful effects. Some tree companies trim aggressively because of a lack of training or hurrying to the next job. Poor pruning causes the trees to produce dense, vigorous growth. Dense growth reduces the tree’s capacity to photosynthesize, reducing the tree’s ability to grow and keep healthy. Fragile trees such as Eastern Rosebud sometimes cannot overcome the stress of aggressive trimming and die.

  2. Myth #2: Topping Is Great For Trees

    Topped trees need more service. Once cut, the tree responds by growing dense branches with heavy foliage. The branches need periodic thinning to improve the structure and eliminate any hazardous hanging branches. Typically, the cuts are usually horizontal, which promotes decay. Also, the dense growth lessens the ability of the tree to produce energy from the sun, which reduces vigor and the ability to fight off insects and disease.

  3. Myth #3: Prune Branches Close Helps Trees Heal Faster

    Each branch base has a collar next to the trunk or parent limb. Collar tissue activates the growth of wound wood that grows over the cut. So it is best to leave the collar when pruning.

  4. Myth #4: Tree Cabling and Bracing Makes a Hazardous Limb or Tree Safe

    Tree cabling and bracing do increase tree structural integrity, but they do not permanently remedy structural weaknesses or guarantee against failure. All cable and brace hardware needs to be safety inspected each year to avoid property damage from dropping branches or falling trees.


Pruning To Avoid

Once a branch is cut, it is gone for ever. To avoid the common pruning mistakes listed below, we suggest homeowners hire tree service companies with ISA Certified Arborists who adhere to the ANSI A300 pruning standards. They will not do the following:

  • Leave branch stubs
  • Make unnecessary heading cuts
  • Cut off the branch collar
  • Stripping a branch from the inside leaving foliage just at the ends
  • Remove more than 25 percent of the foliage of a single branch
  • Remove more than 25 percent of the total tree foliage in a single year
  • Damage other parts of the tree during pruning
  • Use wound paint or cement
  • Climb the tree with climbing spikes


Large Tree Pruning Jobs

Ross Tree Company is known across Denver for its large tree pruning and removal capabilities. It takes specialized skills and equipment to complete difficult tree service jobs near a home, garage, and fence structures. If the work happens to be near a busy street, then a permit is required for a full or partial street closing. For over 30 years, Ross Tree is your go-to tree service company for jobs next to busy streets. We take care of the permitting process in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Ross Tree looks for ways to improve efficiency and worker safety, such as the Good Rigging Control System (GRCS). Sailors use self-tailing winches on yachts to maneuver massive boat rigging and sails. The GRCS allows us to reduce the number of men needed for a job, which lowers the cost to the consumer. Once secure, the technician cuts the branch or tree, then we use an innovative speed lining technique to move tree sections over roofs and fences to be shredded and loaded onto trucks.

If you have a pruning question or need a tree trimmed next to a home or a busy street. Call 303-871-9121 or click here to fill out a service request form.