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Good, Bad, Uglier


What's the difference between a good prune vs a bad one? Is the goal for aesthetics or just take off as much as I can for the cheapest price? We will dive into this topic today so you have some information in choosing the right tree service for your project. First off, just like electricians or plumbers, we do have industry standards that guide us. In order to keep this short, I will tell you what you shouldn't do but yet I see even licensed tree services doing frequently. 

1. Topping trees and if height reduction is required not making appropriate header cuts. NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH POLLARDING WHICH THE BAD AND UGLY PICTURE ARE NOT.

2. Not pruning back to an appropriate sized lateral branch aka the nub job.

3. Lions tailing - this is where all the interior growth is stripped and just the outer growth is left.

4. Spiking a tree you are pruning.

5. Taking out more than 25-30% of a trees canopy in a given year.

6. This one is more artistic than science but leaving you a tree that doesn't look anything like a natural tree anymore aka your tree looks more unnatural then those silly tree cell phone towers. Who wants to look at that in their front lawn?


So you get two bids, both say full prune, so I should just go for the cheapest bid right? I bid on the center and far right projects and was underbid and the customer went for the cheapest price. Unfortunately for these trees, they were poorly pruned and where honestly better left alone in terms of long term health. What you will see out of those trees is excessive growth in subsequent years with poor attachment points requiring more pruning more frequently than had they been pruned correctly. What does this mean? Over the long run, you will pay more for an ugly tree.


So why do these businesses do it? Most have never heard or researched trees and just are following the guy who taught him how to hack trees. Second is it is cheaper(initially but not in the long run) and they can get more bids. It takes time to pick and choose branches for future development and fight through ones you want to keep vs just slay the tree and make sure your don't break anything. 

What can you do? First, ask your contractor what he/she plans on doing to the tree? Do they follow industry standards? Ask for a picture of a past job, a tree nearby you can see that he/she has just done, etc? Don't think comparing a bid is just based on price, a full prune by someone following industry standards cannot be compared to one that is not on price alone. Or just give us a call and you don't have to worry if your tree will fall victim.



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