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  • Writer's picturejoshuatreeilm

What is tree trimming?

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

We prune a lot trees here in Wilmington, North Carolina, and in neighboring Wrightsville Beach. Mostly, we "Crown Clean" where we prune out all the dead wood over a certain size (usually 2" in diameter or greater). We also remove any limbs that have broken off and are just hanging there. ("Widowmakers".) Then we reduce any broken, damaged, or diseased branches to expedite callus tissue formation and allow the tree to compartmentalize the clean cuts we leave. We remove crossing branches or any growth that is detrimental to future canopy development. If the tree is thick and shaggy, then we do a "Crown Thin" where we remove approximately 10% of the branch tips to reduce stress at all the major unions.

Wherever necessary, we raise the bottom of the canopy to appropriate heights so that the branches don't interfere with people on pathways, or vehicles on roads and in driveways. And we prune any branches that are touching structures or blocking signs.

All of that being said, this is as much an art as a science! If any pruning will result in large limb loss or the decline in the overall health or aesthetic of a tree, then we make every effort to find alternate solutions while still minimizing interference with structures, signage, traffic, and pedestrians.

All of our pruning complies with the ANSI A300 "Part 1" pruning standards.

Last, but not least, we remove and dispose of all the debris generated by our work.

Here is a picture of Joshua's helmet, with a screen to protect his eyes from wood chips, and his well-deserved Certified Arborist sticker from the International Society of Arboriculture!

Whenever possible, we certainly recommend hiring a tree company that has a Certified Arborist on staff. Arborists are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, and you can search for an Arborist near you HERE. Joshua Tree of Wilmington, has SIX certified Arborists on staff! If you can't find an Arborist, make sure that any tree company you hire has both General Liability insurance and Worker's Compensation insurance. Tree work is dangerous and accidents can be very expensive.

Finally, a sincere note for the safety of your trees.

When trees need to be cut all the way down, it is common to see climbers use "spikes" on their boots. We do use spikes for removals. However, if you hire a company to prune a tree that you want to keep, make sure--and I can't emphasize this enough--that they do not climb your tree with spikes. If they start strapping spikes to their boots, do not be shy! Walk out and say, "Thank you, but no thank you. I do not want you to prune my tree wearing spikes." Every single spike hole is a wound that can, and will, allow pests like fungus and insects to infect an otherwise healthy tree. There are lots of tools that a tree company can use besides spikes; including ropes and saddles for climbing, lifts and bucket trucks, or even just ladders and pole saws. There is no excuse for climbing a healthy tree with spikes, besides inexperience or reckless ignorance.

This is a picture of a southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) after it has been pruned by our team. There is still plenty of shade for the crew to take a break before moving on to the next exciting adventure!
Quick lunch break in the shade.

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