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An example of property pruned trees. There is no over-thinning and it is structurally sound after pruning, along with aesthetically pleasing.

An example of an improperly pruned tree. This technique, called "topping"is not practiced by Four Seasons Arbor Care tree service.

Quality Tree Pruning

Tree Service

Our trained staff offers a variety of pruning types. These include:


  • Class I: Smaller ornamental pruning; fine pruning.

  • Class II: Most typical type of pruning. Includes structural thinning, deadwood removal, elevation for balance and shape.

  • Class III: Hazardous deadwood removal.


Frequently asked questions:


Why should I worry with pruning my trees?


Just as with any other living thing, trees need regular maintenance and care. Proper pruning will ensure the safety, health and appearance of trees.  By regularly pruning your trees you will help improve their health, control growth, enhance fruiting and flowers, as well as the overall appearance of the tree.


When should I prune my trees?


First time pruning should occur 2 to 5 years after planting, then every 5 to 7 years thereafter. Pruning is best done from winter to early spring (before new growth starts) because wounds close quickly as growth starts in the spring and insect and disease infestations are less likely. 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. Improper pruning can cause damage that will last for the life of the tree, or worse, shorten the tree's life.


Reasons for Pruning


Because each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, no branch should be removed without a reason. Common reasons for pruning are to remove dead branches, to remove crowded or rubbing limbs, and to eliminate hazards. Trees may also be pruned to increase light and air penetration to the inside of the tree’s crown or to the landscape below. In most cases, mature trees are pruned as a corrective or preventive measure.


Routine thinning does not necessarily improve the health of a tree. 

Trees produce a dense crown of leaves to manufacture the sugar used as energy for growth and development. Removal of foliage through pruning can reduce growth and stored energy reserves. Heavy pruning can be a significant health stress for the tree.


Yet if people and trees are to coexist in an urban or suburban environment, then we sometimes have to modify the trees. City environments do not mimic natural forest conditions. Safety is a major concern. Also, we want trees to complement other landscape plantings and lawns. Proper pruning, with an understanding of tree biology, can maintain good tree health and structure while enhancing the aesthetic and economic values of our landscapes.


Pruning Techniques


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

  • Thinning - 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.


Improper Pruning Methods


Topping or Hat racking

When a tree has been topped, it has basically been butchered. Topping is a type of pruning where most of the canopy is removed from a tree, leaving mostly branch stubs. Topping initiates decay in the trunk and main branches and attracts wood boring insects. Topping a large tree causes excessive sprouting of weakly attached new branches, and also increases wind resistance by creating denser branching patterns.


Never top a tree or allow anyone to top one of your trees. A certified Arborist will never top a tree.


Over Lifting


Over lifting trees is a common practice. Over lifting involves removing to many of the lower branches of the tree. This type of pruning causes the tree to be top heavy, reduces trunk taper, and increases chance of branch breakage. Removal of some lower branches is part of necessary maintenance (elevation), but should not be taken to the extreme.



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