Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wall of Shame

A drive by a local church a couple of weeks ago proved that bad pruning is always just around the corner.

Plate 1: Workers cut through the branch collar past where the tree keeps it's own chemical protection against fungus and bacteria. While these trees still have some protection, it has been seriously compromised.

Plate 2: This cut goes beyond the branch bark ridge. Now all of the chemicals that protect the limb connection have been cut off. You can see an intact branch bark ridge on the set of limbs behind the cut. 

Plate 3: The 'fuze' at the base of the cut indicates someone doing the work that is not comfortable with the equipment he is using. While all tree trimmers have an occasional bad cut, the scrapes on the right side of the cut proves the trimer had bad control of his saw and did not care about the tree.

Plate 4: Two wrongs do not make a right. Three, four, and five don't either.

Plate 5: Two for the price of one?

Plate 6: This is a classic case of tree topping. If you look closely you will see that the major upper level limbs were cut to create a uniform hight. While the idea has appeal, it has the same logic as cutting off a child's feet to solve the problem of different shoe sizes.

Plate 7: The pruner could have made the cut closer to a side branch to encourage growth on that branch. As is, this stub will either die, or more likely, sprout four or five weakly attached branches.

Plate 7: One of these branches has a good cut , but the redirect branch is not big enough to fully support the larger branch that was trimmed. The rule of thumb is that the redirect branch needs to be at least one third the diameter of the removed branch at the point of the cut.

Plate 8: There are times when a bolt needs to be put in a tree for support. This tree is tied to a stake that is much weaker that it is. Even if that were not the case, the eyelet screw is flimsy enough to be pulled out of the tree.
If you prune trees you must study and train so that you know how to do it right. If you hire people to prune for you, you still need to study so you know who to hire.

One last thought: if your doctor practiced medicine like this landscape company practices pruning, what kind of shape would you be in?


  1. Really like your Blog, like how you explain, simple and very nice pics.

  2. Alix
    Good job man! These are great shots and comments. Coming from a Certified Arborist, this man knows what he is talking about!

  3. Thank you for this. Would you please explain plates 7 to a newbie pruner? Specifically ~The pruner could have made the cut closer to a side branch to encourage growth on that branch.~ and ~redirect branch~ Thanks, M

  4. This is not the best photo for a good how-to training. It is murkier than I would have liked. The keys in in spacing the cut is to have the cut close enough to the branch you are redirecting to so that you can avoid a large dead stump and also cut down on potential water sprouts.

    If you cut too close to the redirect you will damage that branch by either cutting into it or cause it to get dried out by the nearness of the cut.

  5. Great Job! I am doing the same thing here in Lynnwood, Washington. Wait till you see what I have coming soon on my "Wall of Shame"!