pruning of trees requires knowledge of plants, their structure,
growth patterns and response to pruning. There are a number
of pruning techniques that qualified ISA certified arborists
practise to provide the best tree care. The approved techniques
are; Cleaning, Thinning, Raising, and Reduction. Topping is
not an approved technique.
Mumbys Tree Services Ltd. adheres to the industry standard
ISA code of ethics in all ways and specifically in regards
Specific types of pruning may be necessary to maintain
a mature tree in a healthy, safe, and attractive condition.
Cleaning is the removal of dead, dying, diseased,
crowded, weakly attached, and low-vigor branches from the
crown of a tree.
Thinning is the 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 trees natural shape.
Raising removes the lower branches from a tree in
order to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians,
Reduction reduces the size of a tree, often for clear-
ance for utility lines. Reducing the height or spread of a
tree is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and
branch terminals to lateral branches that are large enough
to assume the terminal roles (at least one-third the diameter
of the cut stem). Compared to topping, reduction helps maintain
the form and structural integrity of the tree."
Topping stresses trees and causes decay, making
them hazardous and ugly. Topping is expensive in the long
term as the damaged tree may become hazardous and cause damage
to people or property, and may have to be removed and replaced.
See ISA Trees Are Good website for more details: http://www.treesaregood.org/treecare/topping.aspx
Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to
stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume
the terminal role. Other names for topping include heading,
tipping, hat-racking, and rounding
The most common reason given for topping is
to reduce the size of a tree. Homeowners often feel that their
trees have become too large for their property. People fear
that tall trees may pose a hazard. Topping, however, is not
a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not
reduce the hazard. In fact, topping will make a tree more
hazardous in the long term.
EXAMPLES OF TOPPING
Hiring an Arborist
Pruning large trees can be dangerous.
If pruning involves working above the ground or using power
equipment, it is best to hire a professional arborist. An
arborist can determine the type of pruning that is necessary
to improve the health, appearance, and safety of your trees.
A professional arborist can provide the services of a trained
crew, with all of the required safety equipment and liability
When selecting an arborist:
- check for membership in professional organizations such
as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the
Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), or the American Society
of Consulting Arborists (ASCA). Such membership demonstrates
a willingness on the part of the arborist to stay up to
date on the latest techniques and information.
- check for ISA arborist certification. Certified Arborists
are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive
examination covering all aspects of tree care.
- ask for proof of insurance.
- ask for a list of references, and dont hesitate
to check them.
- avoid using the services of any tree company that
- advertises topping as a service provided. Knowledgeable
arborists know that topping is harmful to trees and
is not an accepted practice.
- uses tree climbing spikes to climb trees that are
being pruned. Climbing spikes can damage trees, and
their use should be limited to trees that are being
Acquiring a strong foundation of training, certification
ands experience provides arborists with the knowledge base
required to be familiar with cause and treatment of diseases
and insects that can cause damage or decline in trees. Mumbys
Tree Services Ltd. keeps abreast with the latest information
about introduced invasive insects and diseases, and participates
in industry conferences throughout the Pacific Northwest
Plant Health Care (PHC) is a program developed by arborists
to ensure the retainment of trees and shrubs. The objectives
of PHC can be applied to single yard or to a large municipal
urban forest. See ISA Trees Are Good website for more information:
Tree Inventory is a vital part of any tree care program.
Golf courses, municipalities and strata units need to know
what trees they have, their condition and where they are located.
Once the client knows what they have, they can begin to better
manage their urban forest, and protect their investment and
reduce liability. See Mumbys Tree Services Ltd. GPS
Mapping page for more details about Tree Inventory.