There are three primary reasons for tree pruning: health, appearance and safety.
Fall is the recommended time for pruning most trees. Once leaves have fallen, it is easier to see cracks, deadwood and decayed or damaged limbs. Pruning is vital to a strong tree structure. Proper pruning encourages growth, increases flower and fruit production, improves plant health, repairs damage and helps add aesthetic appeal to your trees.
Three Basic Types of Pruning*
Removal of dead, diseased, obstructing, split and/or broken branches that are 2 inches in diameter or greater. Limbs that are susceptible to failure from dense or heavy foliar masses should be thinned.
Includes the removal of lower tree branches to allow for safe movement of vehicles and pedestrian under the canopy of the tree. Limbs above the sidewalk shall be no lower than 8 feet. Limbs above the road shall be no lower than 18 feet.
This includes reducing the overall mass by thinning out the top and sides or just removing individual limbs of the tree. Reduction pruning is commonly associated with pruning away from buildings, structures or overhead utility wires.
*excerpts of this were reprinted from the US Forest Service
Why Proper Tree Management is Vital
If you are planning to sell your home, or want to ensure that your asset retains or increases in value, don't cut corners on tree care. Healthy trees can increase the value of your property by as much as 20%. Conversely - diseased and defective trees will substantially reduce the appeal of your home.
The City of San Francisco standards brochure states some of the specific pitfalls of improper tree management:
- Aggravating existing problems and creating new structural defects
- Aggravating insect or disease problems
- Increasing the frequency of maintenance needs
- Reducing tree lifespan
These are important reasons to not do this yourself and make sure you have a professional performing this service.