Tree Pruning Approaches

//Tree Pruning Approaches

Tree Pruning Approaches


Pruning for Structure (Structure Pruning)

There are classes of tree pruning that designate how much will be taken out of the tree. These classes or designations are dictated by what the arborist feels is healthy for the tree. However, it gives customers a cost structure and way to compare estimate pricing, and also a way to understand what will be left out if you need to cut costs on the trim job.

Here is a description of various classes of pruning.

Structural pruning

Structural pruning is the removal of live branches and stems to influence,

  • orientation
  • spacing
  • growth rate
  • strength of attachment
  • size of branches and stems

Structural pruning is used on young and medium sized trees to help engineer a sustainable trunk and branch attachment.


Pruning to Clean (Crown Cleaning)

Cleaning is the selective removal of dead, diseased, detached and broken branches. Cleaning is used to reduce the risk of falling branches and reduce the movement of decay, insects, and diseases from dead or dying branches.

Pruning to Raise (Crown Raising)

Raising is the selective removal of the lowest branches to provide vertical clearance. Crown raising shortens or removes lower branches of a tree to provide clearance for,

  • buildings
  • signs
  • vehicles
  • pedestrians

Uniform building codes requires tree limbs to be more then 8 feet above sidewalk and 13 feet above streets.

Pruning to Thin (Crown Thinning)

Thinning is the selective removing of small live branches to reduce crown density. Because the majority of small branches are at the outside edge of the crown, thinning is focused on that area. Proper thinning retains the crown shape and provides even distribution of foliage throughout the crown.

Pruning to Reduce (Crown Reduction)

Reduction is the selective removal of branches and stems to decrease the height and/or spread of a tree or shrub. This type of pruning is done to,

  • minimize the risk of tree and branch failure
  • reduce the height or spread
  • utility line clearance
  • clear vegetation from buildings or other structures
  • improve the appearance of the plant


Removal is the cutting off of all above ground parts of the plant, removing all debris from the site and grinding the stump to six (6) inches below grade level.  The stump hole is refilled to two inches above grade.



Cutting off of all above ground parts of the tree and leaving the stump flush to the ground. Remove all debris from the site.



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Tree care updates and news items as well as best practices for canopy management to keep your trees and lawn sustainably growing. These posts represent a synthesis of our best practices and knowledge from serving thousands of customers.