General Pruning

The main approach should be a combination of considerations including health, general safety, access, fire safety and native species. Once access and fire safety issues have been met, pruning should be geared to increasing the vigor and aesthetic value. The health of the overall tree should be insured, including root systems whose growth can be inhibited by over-pruning.

The availability of water is an important issue for vigor as it will apply in years to come, so spacing and the types of species present should be considered.

Removal of diseased or infested material, cross branches, as well as dead and dying wood should be removed first, followed by removal of material to increase the light through the canopy.

When working in areas that have fungus and other diseases, it is important to properly clean pruning equipment when moving from one location to another. A plan should be developed for the treatment of diseased trees that includes proper soil conditions and pest control. When done properly, this has been proved as a way to reduce costs and improve appearance in the long term for landscaped areas.

While pruning, it is important to remove equal amounts of wood from various areas of the tree and avoid taking too much from any one area. Cutting lateral branches and damaging the scaffolding should be controlled by making a larger number of smaller cuts within the pruning specifications.

In some hot dry areas of oak woodlands a Douglas fir eradication program should be considered. Not only are they a fire hazard, but they threaten beneficial species by robbing them of sunlight and soil nutrients.

Crown Thinning

"Crown thinning" means trimming secondary branches and balancing the crown structure without altering the overall size or shape of the tree. The result is improved light penetration of the canopy and reduced shading. It also limits the sail effect of the crown and reduces the wind loading which puts stress on limbs.

Crown Lift

"Crown lifting" is the removal of lower branches to lift the height of the crown. This increases the clearance between the ground and the lower branches to:

Crown Reduction

"Crown reduction" is pruning back branch tips. When carried out over the whole tree the overall crown size is reduced, and is a good way of controlling size. The maximum recommended reduction is normally 25% to avoid stress to the tree. It also reduces the sail effect of the crown, thus reducing the wind loading upon the limbs of the tree, and a reduction is often used on trees with identified weaknesses.


Pruning for shape assists a young tree to develop into a stronger and better tree. The structure of the tree can be greatly improved by selective branch removal. This ensures strong branch attachments and a good crown structure.

Limbing Tree Services

Limbing usually refers to the practice of removing the lower limbs from a conifer tree to open up space, improve light penetration, improve aesthetics, reduce ladder fuel and meet defensible space guidelines for fire safety. In Sonoma County, this is most often carried out on pine, Douglas fir and redwood trees that have a propensity for voraciously commandeering every speck of available sunlight.

Proper limbing requires knowing how many limbs can be removed without damaging or killing the tree, or creating a new hazard by promoting unsupportable growth in the limbs that are left.( When you cut off a limb, the energy it used to feed on will be absorbed by the remaining limbs. This can cause them to grow into huge and extremely heavy hazards that can break in high winds. Such limbs can wreak havoc with anything they hit, cars, roofs, decks...)

Fine Tree Care has safely and professionally limbed redwoods trees in Sonoma County for ten years. Our climbers and ground men are required to participate in regularly scheduled safety sessions. We provide a certificate of insurance and produce our license prior to beginning each job.

When you choose Fine Tree Care you can be sure you have chosen a professional service provider.

Contact Fine Tree Care for all your pruning tree services »

Website designed and built by

Fine Tree Care - Return to Home Page Follow us on Twitter Follow Us on Facebook