There are a variety of tree pruning techniques. An Arborist will assess the tree to determine the appropriate pruning option to improve or maintain the health, appearance and structural integrity.

Common Tree Pruning Techniques:

    • Cleaning or Crown Cleaning: Selective removal of dead, diseased or damaged branches to promote the overall health of the tree. This method is preferred for mature trees as it does not remove live branches unless needed. This can also be referred to as deadwooding or risk reduction. Your estimate should include the location of the parts to be removed and the size range of the parts to be removed.


    • Thinning: Selective removal of live branches to reduce crown density. This method reduces the density at the edge of the crown, not the interior. It provides for an even distribution of foliage and retains the crown shape. Improper thinning can cause serious damage and poses as a hazardous risk – please consult with a Certified Arborist for proper technique to prolong the life of your tree. Your estimate should specifiy if the entire crown will be thinned or define the specific areas to be thinned. The size range and percentage of foliage to be removed should also be specified on your estimate.


  • Raising or Lifting: Removal of lower branches to provide clearance for structures, view, or city ordinances (street/sidewalk). Excessive removal of branches can cause undue stress to a tree; alternatives to full removal include shortening a larger branch to reach the needed clearance. Your estimate should specify the clearance distance as well as the location and size range of the parts to be removed and/or shortened.


  • Reduction: Selective removal of branches/stems to decrease the height or width of a tree. This technique is useful when trying to minimize the risk of tree failure, reduce the width of the tree for specific clearance concerns (building/utility), reduce the risk of breakage on defective branches, to balance the canopy or to improve the overall appearance. Not all species can be reduced, especially mature trees – this should be considered prior to conducting this method. There are very specific guidelines to follow when employing this method of tree pruning in order to maintain the structural integrity of the tree. Your estimate should include the specific location and size range of branches to be removed or the clearance requirements.


  • Structural: Removal of live branches to assist in the engineering of a sustainable trunk and branch arrangement in young to medium-aged trees. This method will influence the orientation, spacing and growth rate of the branches. There are two other sub-categories of pruning that assist in the structural stability of a tree: a) Crown Reduction removes length at the end of a large leader (branch), and b) Subordination reduces the length of a leader (branch) approximately half the distance from the end to the trunk and is a preferred option to full removal of the leader if possible. A Certified Arborist will provide you with the best options to improve or maintain the structure of your tree. Your estimate should include the size and location of the branches to be removed or subordinated.


  • Restoration or Remedial Pruning: Consists of selective pruning or removal of branches to correctand  improperly pruned or damaged tree. This method promotes improvement to the tree’s structure, form and/or appearance. This technique should only be performed or supervised by a Certified Arborist. Your estimate should include the location within the tree, size range and percentage of branches to be removed.