What do I need to know about tree pruning?
Pruning is the removal of dead or living parts from a plant.
Tree pruning is both an art and a science. Trees are pruned to achieve a certain look or produce an effect in the landscape - that's the art side of pruning. Understanding the tree’s growth and health response to pruning is the science side.
Proper pruning can improve a tree's healthy appearance, as well as increase the life expectancy of the tree. Proper pruning opens the canopy of the tree to permit more air movement and sunlight penetration.
Improper pruning can create hazards, decrease a tree’s life expectancy, or even kill it. Because trees are living organisms, they can be profoundly affected by pruning practices. Tree care professionals adhere to accepted industry standards of practice when pruning trees.
The American National Standard for tree pruning, designated as ANSI A300, has been in existence since 1995. Its development was approved by the American National Standards Institute. This pruning standard should be followed in all pruning situations and all geographic areas. Knowing how certain tree species grow within a given environment may alter how the recommendations of A300 are interpreted.
The National Arborist Association is the Secretariat for the ANSI A300 Standard, and assists arborists and consumers with the interpretation and application of the standard.
In California, Government Code Section 53067 recognizes tree industry pruning standards, and, in effect makes them the legal standard.