Nov 26, 2015

There’s real skill in pruning trees and shrubs correctly. Anyone can take shears or a small saw to the branches of a tree to thin out its growth and cut back on lengthy limbs but incorrect pruning can do more damage than good. It can actually be better not to prune at all than to do it badly. Healthy plants can be deformed or ruined by poor pruning technique.

The aim of pruning is not solely for appearance. It is to remove parts of the tree or shrub that aren’t needed. Taking these parts away helps to maintain and improve upon the overall health of the tree. Pruning should improve the quality of flowers and fruit, and restrict growth out of proportion – trees can become too large for the site they occupy.

Pruning can help to correct many issues, including removing dead and diseased branches, branch crossovers, broken branches, trees spaced too closely together, storm damage, branches blocking a view, and more. We offer expert tree services in Atlanta

It’s advisable to follow a set procedure when pruning properly.  The first step is to identify all dead, diseased, broken or split limbs and cut these off, right back to the point of origin or to a strong main branch leaving the branch bark collar intact.

Tree Pruning in Atlanta

Next, make reduction cuts. This is the practice of cutting back lateral branches in order to train the tree to take on a certain shape. When this method is employed, always stay true to the natural shape of the tree.  Cuts should be clean and smooth, so that wounds can heal as quickly as possible. Do not cut halfway and tear it the rest of the way; this leads to bark damage and compromises the health of the tree.

Some trees have unique criteria to be considered when pruning so it’s best to know the species of tree before starting – for example, pines in Atlanta should only be pruned in winter when pine beetles are dormant.  Trim flowering trees in spring; avoid heavy pruning in summer; dead wood and smaller cuts may be pruned anytime, and then trim larger cuts and more extensive work in winter.  Most healthy trees should not have more than 25% of their total crown volume trimmed off per year.  Be cautious about pruning mature and/or stressed trees – generally trim off very few live branches from them.

The equipment needed is straightforward.  Shears are categorized in two main groups, pruning shears have short handles and can be held in one hand; lopping shears are the longer variety and need both hands to operate.  Invest in good quality equipment.  Avoid hedge shears – which may be power-driven; for large tree branches use (sharp) saws. Don’t overlook safety equipment – protective eye wear, gloves and a hard hat.  Use chaps whenever using chain saws on the ground.  We always do – it’s a Federal requirement for commercial tree workers.

If looked after properly, these tools should last long. Clean and oil them regularly, and keep the cutting edges sharp.

For the pruning of particularly large trees, tall trees and anything which involves branches in a dangerous location – for example, near windows of a house or near overhead electric lines – contact 404-CUT-TREE.  For additional information check out the national pruning standard:  ANSI A300 Tree Trimming Standard.  (  All professional tree services follow this standard.

404-CUT-TREE produced a 3 minute video which provides easy to understand training for pruning all woody plants.  (The subject is Japanese Maples; however don’t let that throw you.  It will help you trim all trees.)

404-CUT-TREE offers professional tree trimming / pruning in Atlanta, Roswell, Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Decatur, Sandy Springs, Marietta and all surrounding areas.