- Pruning is the process of selectively removing unwanted parts of a plant or tree to preserve and enhance its structural integrity.
- Cleaning consists of selectively reducing hazardous conditions in a tree. W hen a tree is subjected to a storm’s winds, broken, diseased and weakly attached limbs will become airborne projectiles that assume the speed of the wind and can cause unpredictable damages to people and their property. Cleaning removes limbs with the highest potential for breakage. This greatly reduces the probability for damages associated with their dislodgement.
- Thinning consists of selectively pruning branches and limbs to promote an increased light penetration and air movement within the canopy. By doing so, thinning reduces the canopy’s overall weight and density by removing small branches from the outside portion of the canopy only, not from the interior without drastically changing the natural character of the tree. During a storm the force exerted on a thin tree is lessened allowing it to sift the winds force and lessening its’ probability to limb breakage and to collapse.
- Lion-tailing consists of clearing out inner foliages off the branches displacing the weight of the foliage to the ends of the limbs and altering its’ natural character. A lion-tailed tree has greater susceptibility to break as a result of wind force. During a storm the limb will flex and bend to a greater extent than if the resistance were consistent along it’s’ length. This will cause it to act in a pendulous manner forcing it to break.
- Crown raising also called elevating is the selective removal of the lower branches from a tree in order to provide a desired clearance. Although crown-raising elevated the canopy of a tree, the limbs should not be stripped of their foliage. Normally it is not necessary for the tree expert to raise the tree since trees are normally installed at heights that already provide clearances for pedestrians and most vehicles.
- Over-lifting is the removal of lower limbs and of inner foliages when crown raising. This affects the trees’ structural stability and it compromises the tree’s natural appearance. During a storm, the resistance to the wind force is displaced to the top of the tree causing it to rotate and forcing it to break along its’ vertical supports.
- Reduction, known as drop-crotching, consists of reducing the overall sized of the tree and should be done only when it is compromised by overhead utilities and low-clearances. A properly reduced tree will have less density in it’s’ canopy mass and will be less likely to collapse. Care should be made that the tree expert does not stunt the growth of 3 but instead re-directs it to grow in a more horizontal form.
- Topping, commonly called hat-racking consists of indiscriminately cutting limbs back to a stub or bud, drastically reducing the overall size and character of a tree. Topping will cause new, weakly attached growths to flush the ends of the limbs. Because these flushed growths are weakly attached, they will not resist the winds’ force. Even if they grow to become large limbs, they will easily become dislodged in a storm posing future dangers. Because it depletes nutrients production, topping can kill the tree.
- Creating topiary forms out of shade trees is another form of topping and it is unlawful because it alters the natural character of the tree and because a topped tree is a disfigured tree. Instead, large shrubs are more suitable and should be used when topiary forms are desired.
Beyond pruning painting a trunk should be avoided.