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Tree Care

Festival Landscaping practices tree pruning techniques in accordance with the International Society of Arboriculture

Question: "My trees are getting too big. Will you round or top my trees?"

Answer: In a short answer, NO. This is one of the most harmful, yet common practices known. There is about 25 to 30 years of literature written on this common mistake explaining the harm effects that could envelop the tree, yet many continue to top trees, or request us to top trees.

We would rather spend time getting educated and educating you with research like this. That is why we use the methods we do to keep your trees safe and healthy. When a tree service removes an excessive amount of live wood from a tree they are giving no consideration to the structure of the tree.

Tree topping results in...

  • Stress on the tree.
  • Decay of tree limbs and structure
  • Destroys the beauty of tree
  • A topped tree requires continual maintenance to maintain its reduced size. That can become expensive in the long-term.
  • Excessive branch removal and improper pruning will stimulate additional unwanted growth.
  • Potential liability. Topped trees are prone to breaking and can be hazardous. Because topping is considered an unacceptable pruning practice, any damage caused by branch failure of a topped tree may lead to a finding of negligence in a court of law.

Removal of large portions of the tree canopy (more than 30%) during any one pruning session in the summer growing season, can lead to aggressive, unwanted re-growth, limited root development and increased vulnerability to sunburn injuries that can be colonized by wood boring insects.

Question: "Is tree trimming included in my regular maintenance?"

Answer: Tree trimming up to 8' is included in regular maintenance. Above 8' is an additional charge and quotes can be given before servicing.

Question: "My tree is getting very large and full and I'm worried about wind damage.

Can you trim it?"

Answer: Yes, we can thin and prune your trees. Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure. Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature's pruning, landscape trees require a higher level of care to maintain their safety and aesthetics.

Pruning should be done with an understanding of how the tree responds to each cut. We practice tree pruning techniques in accordance with the International Society of Arboriculture. We also strongly encourage growth management and seasonal pruning.

Growth Management

Growth management is the most effective and least used strategy to avoid pruning. Many established desert trees can be naturalized to where they can survive with little or no supplemental irrigation. The practice of limiting water and fertilizer serves to significantly slow growth and reduce the need for pruning and thinning. For species that cannot be entirely naturalized, limiting irrigation and nitrogen can reduce growth and the need for pruning.

Seasonal Pruning

Periodic thinning is the most desirable method of pruning. Thinning trees before the monsoon season can reduce wind damage to branches and uprooting of trees. 

Proper methods for tree thinning:

This method of branch reduction helps to preserve the natural form of the tree

Cleaning is the removal of dead, dying, diseased, crowded, weakly attached, and low-vigor branches from the crown of a tree.

Thinning is the selective removal of branches to increase light penetration and air movement through the crown. Thinning opens the foliage of a tree, reduces weight on heavy limbs, and helps retain the tree’s natural shape.

Raising removes the lower branches from a tree in order to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and vistas.

Reduction reduces the size of a tree, often for clearance for utility lines. Reducing the height or spread of a tree is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and branch terminals to lateral branches that are large enough to assume the terminal roles (at least one-third the diameter of the cut stem). Compared to topping, reduction helps maintain the form and structural integrity of the tree.

In summary:

  1. Pruning can do as much harm as good to tree growth, form and vigor.
  2. Select proper tree variety, trunk form, and tree spacing for landscape location.
  3. Prune to compliment and reinforce the tree's natural form and shape.
  4. Light (no more than 20-30% of leaf mass) and regular pruning is more desirable than heavy and infrequent.
  5. Many established desert natives can be naturalized to where they can survive with little or no supplemental irrigation.

Photos of Completed Tree Pruning in Festival Ranch

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