Frequently Asked Questions

Why Hire an Arborist?

An arborist is a specialist in the care of individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns. Well-cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees. An arborist can determine the type of pruning that is necessary to improve the health, appearance, and safety of your trees. A professional arborist can provide the services of a trainedcrew, with all of the required safety equipment and liability insurance.

What does pruning do?

When should a tree be removed?

What is Topping?

Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs to reduce the size of the tree. Other names for topping include “heading,” “tipping,” “hat-racking,” and “rounding over.” Topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known. Yet, topping remains a common practice. Home owners often feel that their trees have become too large for their property. People fear that tall trees may pose a hazard. Topping, however, is not a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not reduce the hazard. In fact, topping will make a tree more hazardous in the long run. Topping is not an acceptable pruning technique and there are better alternatives.

What alternatives are there to topping?

Sometimes a tree must be reduced in height or spread. Providing clearance for utility lines is an example. There are recommended techniques for doing so. If practical, branches should be removed back to their point of origin. If a branch must be shortened, it should be cut back to a lateral that is large enough to assume the terminal role. A rule of thumb is to cut back to a lateral that is at least one-third the diameter of the limb being removed.

This method of branch reduction helps to preserve the natural form of the tree. However, if large cuts are involved, the tree may not be able to close over and compartmentalize the wounds. Sometimes the best solution is to remove the tree and replace it with a species that is more appropriate for the site.