Common Arbor Trimming Terms

Tree Trimming Terminology

Hiring a professional arborist to inspect your established trees is one of the best ways to protect your home and property from damage. An inspection and pruning visit from a local arbor care professional, will help you catch diseases or limb damage before they kill them. Invest in an annual check-up and call the company if you notice leaf loss or other signs of issues. The arborist will use a variety of terms to describe cuts they may need to make to improve its health. Learning about these terms ensures you understand exactly what will be done for your shady green friends.

 Felling & Yelling…Timberrrr!

When a large oak or elm is beyond help, the experts may recommend felling. This means that the oak will be severed near the bottom of the trunk and removed from the property. The dead and dying are mostly felled. If diseases and forms of damage are caught early, the San Francisco Chronicle says that there’s no need to remove it completely. Felling is reserved for those that will not recover. Some removal is also required if you have a specimen infested with a pest or disease that is aggressive and a threat to the local population.

To “fell a tree” means more than just cutting it down. Felling means to cut the tree in such a way that it falls in the desired direction and results in the least damage to the tree. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Pruning – Professionally-Makes All The Difference

There are hundreds of different cutting techniques that fall under the umbrella of pruning. This category includes nearly any trimming done to protect the health, improve the appearance, or control. The University of California says that young specimens that are properly pruned from the first few years of growth develop proper spacing between the branches. This keeps them strong and healthy and minimizes the chances of storm damage over the decades. Some pruning is very minor and allows the natural shape of the tree to show, while other techniques remove nearly all of the new growth.

Pollarding – Allows Large Trees in Small Spaces

Lopping off the entire top may sound extreme. However, this technique is called pollarding and it has plenty of purpose. The remaining trunk will send out dozens of horizontal shoots that grow into branches, says Canadian Gardening. People used to pollard trees to produce small and straight limbs that were ideal for firewood. You can also pollard a sapling from a species that grows too large for the allotted space around your home. This will keep them under a certain height, allowing you to use different varieties around a power line or near the eaves of the home.

Pollarding is a pruning technique used for many reasons, including:

  • Preventing trees and shrubs outgrowing their allotted space
  • Pollarding can reduce the shade cast by a tree
  • May be necessary near street to prevent electric wires and streetlights being obstructed

According to the Royal Horticulture Society in England…

Thinning – Let the Sun In and Prevent Limb Crowding

Established shades should be thinned on a regular basis to keep their branches from growing in unhealthy configurations. When branches grow at a very tight angle against the truck or a larger limb, they can trap bark and moisture between the two sections of wood. This encourages disease and cracking that could drop large branches or dead limbs on your lawn. Branches growing at an unusually wide angle are also unhealthy because they have a relatively weak connection to the tree. Thinning usually involves removing branches at wrong angles and any growth that overlaps or intertwines. Guiding growth in the healthiest pattern ensures it remains a part of the home landscape for decades to come.

Damage Removal – Don’t Let It Spread – Contain It.

When a limb becomes struck by lightning or killed by insects, have it removed promptly to protect the rest of the limbs. Any serious section of damage is like an open wound. These openings allow moisture to penetrate the heartwood, leaving the tree completely riddled with rot or disease. These limbs can often be removed during other pruning work performed by a professional.

Tree Trimming Terms Every Homeowner Should Know