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Carpenter Costin Blog

Improper Pruning Will Kill Your Trees

How Improper Pruning Affects Your Trees

An arborist is a specialist in the cultivation and care of trees and shrubs, including tree surgery, the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of tree diseases, and the control of pests as stated by dictionary.com. When an arborist prunes your trees, they plan how to make the certain cuts before jumping into it to make sure it is the best possible care for your tree.

Improper Pruning-1The image to the left is an example of improper tree pruning. Improper tree pruning can cause a variety of issues almost immediately but also causes severe issues long term.

Stub Cuts

One of the most common mistakes when making cuts on a tree is cutting it too close to the main trunk. When this is done, you are removing a very crucial part of the tree tissue called the branch collar, where the cells help heal the wound. Without the callous that the branch collar create to help prevent disease from entering the trunk you are simply opening a wound that allows disease and pests to affect the tree, which if left untreated can ultimately kill the tree. 

Excessive Pruning

When one third or more of a tree's canopy is removed, photosynthesis is greatly reduced, leaving the tree unable to provide enough energy to sustain itself. We strongly believe that pruning 5% - 10% of a mature tree's foliage is ideal and pruning no more than 15% to 20% is recommended for optimal tree vigor. Sunscald can also occur if sections on the trees bark are exposed to direct sunlight and heat after removal of foliage that previously sheltered the bark. This can cause cankers, as well as splits in the bark, which provides an entry point for disease and insects. 

Topping

Topping is cutting away a 50 to 100 percent of a tree's crown, or all the leafing branches across the top half of the tree. This can cause similar conditions to excessive pruning, reducing photosynthesis and causing dormant buds to become active, forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut. The tree will need to put out a new crop of leaves soon after topping, and if it does not have the energy reserves to do so, will become seriously weakened and may die. Just like excessive pruning, sunscald may also occur as a result of topping. Topping a tree is never a recommended practice, but is sometimes done when trees outgrow their planned space, as a last result before cutting down. This pruning mistake is much more noticeable due to how it makes the tree look. This will leave you with an ugly and deformed tree that has a severely weakened branch structure. It is most common with trees that were planted in a space that is too small.

Timing

With pruning trees there are good times to prune and bad times. The proper pruning time depend on the species and the condition the tree is in. For example if a tree is already heavily stressed by growing conditions, insects or disease it would not be the best practice to heavily prune it. This would cause the tree to become more stressed while also trying to heal the wounds from pruning. Pruning too heavily in the hottest season could cause sunscald as mentioned above, which can damage the trunk bark with multiple wounds and cankers. Be sure to have a certified arborist take a look at your trees to assess their safety and health to assure their long term strength and beauty.

Proper Pruning Promotes Healthy Trees

Pruning, when done correctly will promote a happy and healthy tree! Check out why Pruning Trees and Shrubs is necessary.

If you have any questions or concerns about your trees please reach out to us at 877-308-8733.

 

 

Reasons For Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Pruning your trees and shrubs is definitely something you should be doing if you want them to be happy and healthy. If you are not already pruning your trees and shrubs or have trees and shrubs that have not been inspected or pruned before. Contact an arborist to come inspect your trees and property for a free consultation. In this post we will going over the basics of pruning your trees and shrubs.

Tracked Lift Tight Space Pruning TreeReasons To Prune Your Trees and Shrubs

  • Prune for Tree and Plant Health
  • Prune to maintain intended purposes for your landscape
  • Prune to improve appearance/aesthetics
  • Prune for the safety of people and your property

Prune For Tree Health and Plant Health

  • Remove dead or dying branches that were or are injured by disease, insect infestation, animals, storms, or other adverse mechanical damage
  • Remove branches that rub together
  • Remove branch stubs

Prune To Maintain Intended Purposes for Your Landscape

Pruning can be done in order to encourage flower and fruit development, maintain a dense hedge, and to help maintain or promote a desired plant or tree form/shape.

Prune To Improve Appearance/Aesthetics

For most landscapes, a plant or tree's natural form is best but the appearance in the landscape can be essential in the tree or plants usefulness. You want to prune to:

  • Control plant size and shape
  • Keep shrubby evergreens well-proportioned and dense
  • Remove unwanted branches, waterspouts, suckers and undesirable fruiting structures that detract from plant appearance

Prune For The Safety of People and Property

Trees can have hazardous branches or dead branches over a period of time especially after heavy winds or snow storms. With hazardous branches it is best to remove them before a storm to ensure the safety of your property and family.

To prune for safety you want to remove dead branches, prune out weak tree branches that overhang homes, garages, sidewalks, or any place where a falling limb could injury someone walking underneath. *Eliminate branches that interfere with street lights, traffic signals and overhead wires.*

*DO NOT try and prune near electrical or utility wires. You need to contact the utility companies or a city maintenance worker to handle this issue.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at 877-308-8733.

Are Your Plants Overgrown?

Over-Planting on Property

Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s it was customary for home builders to over plant their house lots with evergreens. Now those Rhododendrons or Arborvitaes may be towering over, smothering, or just plain hiding your home.

One option is to cut all those evergreen plants down and startshrub-pruning-service over with new, smaller plants. Another idea is to cut back and prune those out-of-control shrubs so they fit into the desired space. The best option would be to conduct yearly pruning to keep your plants from overgrowing their spots and covering your home, deck, patio, and fence. This would ensure optimal health and aesthetics.

Six tips to help you tame your out-of-control plants and shrubs:

  1. Prune annually to keep plants contained to their site
  2. Prune after blooming for the best crop of flowers next spring
  3. Cut back new, ‘leggy’ growth for a neater appearance
  4. Prune to separate and define plants
  5. Thin overgrown shrubs and ornamental trees to improve light and air circulation
  6. Don’t attempt this if you are not sure what you are doing, it is easy to damage your plants

You’ll be amazed at the difference a little pruning will make to your property.

Need some help? Give us a call at 877-308-8733, or request a free consultation, and we’ll send an arborist out to meet with you to discuss your pruning needs.

REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION

Have Your Trees Inspected for Winter Damage

It's been a long, cold winter and it feels a little like there's no end in sight. This is the time to stay positive, enjoy any sunshine we get (even if it's accompanied by bitter cold wind), and hope the thaw comes soon.

This is also the time to have your trees inspected for winter damage. With record-breaking snowfall this year many properties are suffering damage from fallen trees or broken limbs and evergreens have been crushed from the weight of the snow. You may not even realize the severity of some of your tree damage until an expert inspects it.  

Carpenter Costin offers a no obligation tree inspection and property review. Let one of our certified arborists inspect the condition of your trees. While broken branches must be removed, bent branches can sometimes be saved by cabling. If your tree needs to be removed, we'll take it down carefully and safely. 

Let us evaluate your trees and assess any winter damage. We'll present you with all options available to keep them safe, beautiful and healthy! 

Call 877-308-8733 to schedule a free consultation or click below

Request a Free Consultation

 

Shrub and Ornamental Pruning

Some people think that pruning is difficult, that plants will die if they're not pruned on a precise date, or that all pruning needs to be done in the winter. The reality is that pruning is necessary to keep tree and plants healthy and that there is no one set time for pruning all types of trees and shrubs.

Why Prune Your Ornamental Trees and ShrubsOrnamental Tree Pruning

Pruning should be done to:

  • Improve survival chances at planting time
  • Maintain or reduce plant size and shape
  • Remove dead, diseased, weak or broken branches
  • Stimulate flowering, fruiting or colored twig effect in certain plants

When to Prune Your Ornamental Trees

Timing for pruning depends on your goals. If you want to slow growing you want to wait until the seasonal growth is complete. If you want to enhance flowering, prune spring blooms when their flowers fade and prune summer bloomers in winter or early spring. You can read more about pruning timing here.

Just a little pruning of your trees and plants can make a huge difference in the health as well as for your property's curb appeal. Need some help? Contact us and we’ll send an arborist out to meet with you for a free consultation.

Request a Free Consultation

Winter Tree Care and a 10% Discount

tree_removal_bucket_truckAvoid tree loss and property damage  

Most damage during severe weather events occurs due to falling trees and limbs.  During winter months, storms with high winds can break off branches or cause trees to fall, resulting in property damage, power outages or even personal injury. The weight of ice and snow accumulations can bend and break delicate evergreens.

Now is an important time to have your trees inspected for decay, broken or hazardous branches, and weak branch unions.  There are some basic procedures that can help reduce the risk of tree and property damage.  Carpenter Costin’s certified arborists can inspect for conditions and defects that could predispose your trees to failure. In the winter you want to be sure to:

  • Clear dangerous branches away from your home
  • Remove dangerous and unwanted trees and shrubs
  • Rejuvenate shrubs and hedge to thicken and invigorate
  • Prune disease-prone fruit trees
  • Prune to improve vista

Please give us a call to arrange a complimentary appointment for a Carpenter Costin certified arborist to give your trees a thorough inspection and evaluation before winter hits.  Based on our assessment, Carpenter Costin may recommend treatments, pruning or installation of support cables.  As trees provide great value and beauty to your property, removal should only be considered only where high risk conditions exist. 

We offer a 10% discount on winter tree work between December 1st and March 31.

Don’t let your trees become casualties.  Call now to arrange a Free Tree Inspection by a certified arborist.  877-308-8733.

Tight Spaces For Tree Work in Somerville

Tight_Spaces_(1)Carpenter Costin's Tracked Lift once again makes getting into tight spaces possible! Glen Park in Somerville offers a new constructed play area with slides and all manner of climbing fun. This is a well-planned park, but unfortunately the tree work was left until the end of construction, making it almost impossible (without the tracked lift!) to gain access.

The newly surfaced play areas and fencing wouldn't allow for the use of traditional equipment, but the tracked lift was able to navigate a pedestrian walkway.

If you need tree work done in a tight space and don't think we can gain access - think again! Give us a call at 877-308-8733 or contact us here for a free consultation about working in tight spaces.

Winter Tree Work in MA - 10% Discount

It's time for winter tree work. Have your trees serviced between Dec - Mar and get a 10% discounTree removal and tree pruning in the winter is ideal for a number of reasons. Firm ground, low foliage, and reduced outdoor activity make tree service easier for the Arborist. Carpenter Costin's 10%  winter discount makes tree service much easier for the property owner as well.

Tree service in the winter is also recommended for areas that are constantly used in the growing season, such as golf courses and athletic fields. Servicing trees in these locations during the winter will ensure that there is no damage to the turf.

 

With clear sight lines, Arborists can easily analyze and prune out dead wood and hanging limbs, and identify any structural weaknesses that can be pruned or cabled to ensure safety.

Consider Carpenter Costin's winter tree services to help improve the appeal and safety of your trees. You'll be glad come spring time.

Faster and Safer Tree Work with our NEW Tracked Lift!

track lift resizedOur mission has always been to offer the best possible professional tree work, landscape design, and lawn care for our clients. We've been doing that for over 60 years and have some of the most delighted clients around. Now we can provide these services faster, safer, and more cost effectively. We're so excited for our newest piece of equipment, our Tracked Lift!

The tracked lift is so compact that it will fit thru a standard single door. The makeup of the lift allows us to move easily over soft, muddy or delicate finished surfaces without the damage that would be done by other types of wheeled equipment. It can even climb stairs!

Carpenter Costin will be using this beauty for things like:

  • Tree removal without climbing
  • Pruning large hedges without need for a ladder
  • Accessing yards that would otherwise be inaccessible because of fences and small gates

Track lift2 resizedUsing The New Tracked Lift

Last week we had the perfect project for our new lift. Our client in Salem, MA had a large maple tree that was posing a hazard to a home with a slate roof. Not only do you want to avoid injury by having a tree fall on your house, but in this case it would be very expensive to repair or replace a slate roof! Like many properties in Salem, this home has a narrow driveway and two small garden gates for entry into the backyard. Without our new tracked lift, we wouldn't have been able to access the tree. Thanks to our new machine we were able to quickly and safely remove it for a much lower cost to the client.

We expect the tracked lift to be involved in a lot more projects going forward. If you have tree or yard work that needs to be done but thought it wouldn't be accessible, get in touch! We'll be happy to show this guy off!

 

Pruning Timing Depends on Pruning Goals

pruningWhile it's true that most pruning can be done at any time of year, your pruning goals dictate when a shrub or tree should be pruned.

Size Control of Non-Flowering Shrubs

When pruning shrubs such as Yews, Holly, Juniper, Privet, Arborvitae or Burning Bush, the best time to prune is just after the initial flush of growth.  Bud break occurs on most shrubs in April or May based on temperature and rainfall.  Immediately following the opening of the buds, the shrubs explode with new growth.  This growing period subsides with summer heat and reduced rainfall.  It's at this time, late June to early July, that pruning begins, removing the excessive growth that can cause shrubs to outgrow their intended space.  Later in the summer, usually around September, a ‘touch up’ pruning is done to control the limited growth that occurs in the hot summer months.  This second pruning helps maintain a neat appearance during dormant months.

It should be noted that shearing of shrubs, other than hedges, is not an accepted practice by horticulturalists.    

Spring Flowering Shrubs

There are two main goals in pruning flowering shrubs:

  1. To maintain the shrub within its intended site
  2. To promote maximum flower display

The timing for pruning shrubs such as Viburnum, Honeysuckle, Forsythia, Potentilla and Weigela, is after they flower.  These types of shrubs produce flower buds later in the summer for next year’s blossoms.  Late June or July is the appropriate time to prune such plants to maximize the next year’s flowers.

Large Leaved Rhododendrons

rhododendronLarge leaved Rhododendrons should never be sheared.  Shearing damages the leaves, causing unsightly brown cut margins.  Also, shearing creates a dense outer crown that does not allow light and airflow to easily reach the inside of the shrub’s crown.  Shearing definitely increases insect and disease activity in all shrubs, especially Rhododendrons.

Carpenter Costin hand prunes all large leaved Rhododendrons, maintaining a natural appearance, while maintaining the size of the plant within its intended space.  Rhododendrons are pruned shortly after flowering, which usually occurs sometime in late June.

It should be noted that plant development does not occur based on our calendar, but rather on daily temperature, called ‘Degree Days Heating.’

Summer Flowering Shrubs

blue hydrangeaAs with other flowering shrubs, pruning shortly after flowering is the best time.  Shrubs such as Clethra, Spirea, Rose of Sharon, and Hydrangea flower later in the season.  Summer flowers are produced on the new wood/shoots and develop in the same calendar year.  Hence, pruning too early will remove flowers getting ready for this year’s display. 

Our Strategy

At Carpenter Costin Landscape Management we plan for 3 separate prunings each season targeting specific shrubs.  The timing of our target pruning dates is completely dictated by the shrub’s development and species.  (We monitor Degree Day Heating through the University of Massachusetts for a variety of purposes).

First Pruning

As we can all see, large leaved Rhododendrons are in bloom right now.  I estimate that these shrubs will be pruned at the end of June, just after their flowers fall.

Second Pruning

Spring and early summer shrubs are either flowering now or have just passed flowering.  Pruning of these shrubs and the first pruning of non-flowering shrubs will occur approximately 4 weeks from now, or early July.  This timing will assure that we get the most out of our spring and early summer flowering shrubs and get the best flower development for next year’s blossoms.

Also, the initial growth spurt will be behind us for non-flowering shrubs, allowing for a longer period of time with a managed shape.

Third Pruning

Late summer pruning, to ‘touch up’ the almost certain additional growth of non-flowering shrubs, and the proper pruning time for summer flower shrubs, is September.

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