Tree experts: fall is the perfect time to prune

(Northville Record - November 4, 2004)

If you think the end of the growing season means you can stop worrying about the trees in your landscape, think again.
Fall is one of the best times to examine the safety and health of your trees, say experts in tree care. Why?
First, with the leaves off, cracks, defects and deadwood are easier to see. Second, with winter storms approaching, hazards should be removed now - before they damage property.
“Most trees can be pruned year-round,” says Peter Gerstenberger, senior advisor for safety, standards & compliance for the Tree Care Industry Association, “and certain operations are easier to do in the fall, when dead branches are easily seen and removed.”
Some homeowners worry that arborists will not be able to determine deadwood on a tree when the leaves are off.
“On the contrary,” says Gerstenberger, “this is the best time for an arborist to locate deadwood by looking for changes in color, fungus growth, cracks, and other symptoms, which can help them make this determination.
“Since the leaves are off, the view of the entire tree’s architecture is clear and a thorough check can be performed.”
Pruning is much more than the simple act of sawing off limbs. Proper tree pruning is an art based on scientific principles of plant physiology. At its most basic level, pruning trees involves removing damaged, dead or structurally weak limbs, which will improve a tree’s health and reduce the chances of personal or property damage caused by falling limbs.
Professional arborists have the capability to make the tree safer and more attractive by pruning live growth as well.
Proper tree pruning encourages growth, increases flower and fruit production, improves plant health, repairs damage and helps add aesthetic appeal to a tree. Tree pruning at the right time and in the right way is critical, since it is possible to kill a tree through neglect or over-pruning.
The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) is a 68-year-old public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture. It has more than 2000 member companies who recognize stringent safety and performance standards, and are required to carry liability insurance.
Recently, the TCIA implemented an accreditation program, and Owen Tree Service (a local company near in Lapeer, MI) was the first in the nation to receive this prestigious honor. You can contact Owen Tree Service at (800) 724-6680 or visit their Web site, www.owentree.com, for more information about fall tree pruning recommendations.
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