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Mastering the Art of Tree Pruning: Knowing When to Hire a Professional Tree Surgeon"

Pruning large trees is a safety issue beyond the training and experience of home gardeners. Hiring a professional tree surgeon is the best approach for most tree pruning jobs like tree trimming or tree removal. Look for arborists with certification like Bennett’s tree care check there certs if they can’t provide them then why there is no excuses you don’t just loose them it its years to get qualified and cost a lot of money to do so losing a certificates is careless would not happen.

how much can be removed

Do not indiscriminately remove branches with live foliage as this can add stress to the tree. The amount of live wood and foliage that can be removed per season depends on the growth rate of the tree. As a rule-of-thumb for healthy trees, 10-15% of the live foliage may be removed per season. For actively growing medium age trees (mature phase of life cycle), without growth limitation factors (such as a dry site or restricted rooting spread), up to 20% of the foliage may be removed per season. For young actively growing trees (growth phase of life cycle) without growth limiting factors up to 25% of foliage may be removed per season. More severe pruning slows root growth by shifting the root to shoot growth ratio. This adds significant stress to the tree. Heavy pruning also reduces carbohydrate reserves, making the tree less tolerant of insects, diseases, and drought stress. Do not remove live wood and foliage from trees showing stress.


Pruning objectives for mature trees

As trees mature, pruning should be based on pruning purposes. Do not just indiscriminately remove branches. The pruning purpose determines how to prune, which in turn determines the type of pruning cuts used.  lists common purposes, how and types of pruning cut.

Prune Mature Trees with a Purpose


  • Reduce risk of failure 

  • Structural pruning

  • Maintain health 

  • Develop root structure

  • Improve view Reduce shade Influence flowering and fruiting


  • structural

  • cleaning

  • crown lifting

  • crown cleaning

  • crown reduction 

  • crown cleaning 

pruning suited for purpose  

  • thinning  or reducing limbs in size  

  • reduction in height 

  • removing lower limbs 

  • thinning, deadwooding, remove crossing limbs

  • tip reducing

  1. To minimize the potential for decay, make thinning cuts on branches with a branch collar when ever possible.

  2. Ideally, pruning cuts are made on branches two inches and less in diameter. These small wounds minimize the potential for internal decay. Unless there is a strong justification (taking into account the potential for a decay column) avoid removing branches larger than four inch diameter. Large wounds predispose some trees to internal decay.

  3. To maintain overall tree vigor, at least one-half of the foliage should be in the lower two-thirds of the tree. The lowest limb should be in the bottom 40% of the tree’s height.

  4. Pruning should maintain the tree’s natural shape.

  5. Avoid topping a tree. Topping opens the tree to internal decay. Regrowth of water sprouts (adventitious shoots) is structurally unsound.

bennetts tree care ltd
bennetts tree care ltd
bennetts tree care ltd
bennetts tree care ltd
I’m concerned about my tree in winds, but I really don’t want to lose the shade. Do I really need to have the tree pruned or removed?

This is a two-part question.

  • First, does the tree show signs of being highly susceptible to storm damage, i.e., previous storm damage, dieback or dead branches, structural problems such as co-dominant trunks, weak branch unions or internal decay

  • Second, if yes, what would the tree or branch hit should it fail? If it would cause significant property damage or threaten life, the tree should be pruned or removed as a preventive measure.

  • Cleaning and thinning may reduce the potential storm hazards without compromising the shade. In some situations the risk of failure can not be reduced without removal. Remember that healthy structurally sound trees are generally windfast even when mature. Storm damage is usually, but not always, related to structural problems that could have been corrected with proper structural training when the tree was young

How should declining trees be pruned?

Focus on cleaning. Avoid removing live wood and foliage as this could speed the decline. Removing live wood lowers the auxin content which is the hormone that promotes root growth. Removing foliage reduces photosynthesis and levels of stored carbohydrates that the tree is living on

bennetts tree care ltd

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