Highest Quality Pruning to Enhance and Restore Natural Form

I specialize in restoring the structure of trees that have been improperly pruned or neglected.

Prior management by gardeners, contractors, and homeowners typically leaves work undone. Usually this merely delays recovery and is not harmful to the tree, but will cause problems later if not addressed. In other cases, a tree will be structurally compromised, both physically and aesthetically, and a makeover is in order. Restoring trees in this condition is the majority of my work. This includes shaping (but not topping—see below).

WINTER PRUNING

Winter pruning of deciduous trees is a specialty.

Deciduous trees can be pruned in summer, but I recommend winter pruning, while they are dormant and their stored energy is highest. This includes many ornamentals—maple, birch, sweetgum and many others—and deciduous fruit trees such as apple, plum, pear, and persimmon, as well as nut bearers. There are important exceptions.

All year long, I add clients to a winter pruning list and call them when the time comes to prune. By December, this list is usually full. I also maintain a list of clients that I contact every winter. At your request, I will add you to either list.

Deciduous trees break dormancy at different times. I will contact you at the proper time for your trees. I often work through the rain to get it all done. Because of this variability, I schedule work only a few days in advance in winter.

Fruit-bearing trees receive special treatment to ensure that branches do not break from the weight of the fruit. Some will require monitoring and treatment after pruning, which I’ll explain in each case.

WHOLE TREE REMOVAL

When a tree becomes more of a liability than an asset, I am often asked to be the “coroner.” If the need is not apparent to you, I will make the recommendation. Landscapes are typically overplanted at the start, and selections for removal need to be made over time for this reason. Often the reason for removal is structural or aesthetic, not because of poor health.

My experience includes working for companies with crews and all sorts of equipment, including cranes. Because I work alone now, there are many trees which I am not able to remove, but I know which those are and I will recommend another tree service in that case.

PLANTING

Trees can be planted correctly or not, and the difference will not usually be apparent until years after planting. An appropriate selection should be made in terms of the species, the quality of the specimen, and the suitability and preparation of the planting site. Most mistakes at this stage cannot be fixed later.

ROOT CROWN EXCAVATION

When planted, trees and shrubs should not have their trunks buried in soil or mulch. This is a problem that I often correct in established trees. There is a natural flare between the trunk and roots—the “transition zone.” If the base of your tree looks like a telephone pole in the ground, you probably need a root crown excavation.

CABLING & GUYING

Structural issues, such as a weak branch or a narrow crotch, can often be remedied by installing cables. Properly installed cables only limit the range of motion of the tree parts involved. Guy wires are used to apply tension. Cables are internal, between parts of the same tree; guying is usually done to a stationary object or to a soil anchor. Guying is done to straighten or support young trees only, so that they develop at a desired angle (usually 90°), after which the guy is removed. Cables remain in the tree until the supported part is removed or the cable(s) have to be re-installed higher or slacker due to growth of the tree.

CONSULTATION

Occasionally I do work that qualifies as consultation, such as tree inventories. Depending on the scope of work, I will either offer to provide that service or recommend an arborist who has chosen this path for their main business.

Services Not Provided

TOPPING

Utilities must do high-voltage line clearance, but substantially reducing the height of a landscape tree, either for a view or for some other reason, is destructive in my opinion. There are other people who will do this work. It’s one of the causes of the kind of damage that I specialize in repairing. I will usually try to discourage a prospective client from doing it and offer alternatives, which include “windowing” and removal.

Topping is a term I reserve for drastically “making it smaller.” However some tree species accommodate vertical containment if the trees are started young and not let go between prunings. Live oaks are often pruned this way, as well as many shrubs. I will sometimes recommend replacement with one of these species if containment is required. However, I usually decline to contain trees myself.

LANDSCAPING, DESIGN, GARDENING, HEDGING, IRRIGATION, CONSTRUCTION…

Although I do know something about them, I will happily refer you to qualified contractors for these and other services.