Important Tree Care Tips

September 16, 2004

Proper Trimming and maintenance of your trees ensures that they will flourish for years. Improper trimming will require years to repair the damage, if at all possible, or the sure death of your trees. Spending a little extra in the beginning will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

When your tree needs trimming or other maintenance, look for a licensed, insured Tree Contractor. To verify if an individual is licensed, check with the California State Contractors License Board at Your lawn maintenance person is trained to mow your lawn and trim your hedges. Just because he is good at lawn care does not mean he is trained or knowledgeable in regards to tree maintenance. For example, if you needed to have electrical repairs completed in your home, you wouldn't call a plumber to do the work.

Trees enhance property values significantly. Research shows that the value of your property could increase up to 25% depending on the size, type, location, and health of its trees. Mature trees are particularly valuable. Therefore, it makes sense to protect your tree investment with proper maintenance.

The value of some old-growth, mature trees are in excess of $25,000. I am always amazed when I see unknowledgeable contractors or unlicensed ground maintenance people up in these trees. Due to their inexperience and lack of knowledge they over prune and essentially butcher these valuable assets. It dismays me to see such a loss to our environment and our properties, especially knowing they often times die.

Young trees require maintenance and pruning. Pruning trees, especially when younger, should be limited to crossing branches and very light skirting. This helps promote healthy trees with good branch architecture. Trees growing in man-made conditions usually have much more space and less competition from other trees. They will spread out to form much broader trees than they would if located in the forest. The branch structure will often be inadequate if the tree is left to develop on its own. These trees can develop hazard limbs that eventually could fail leading to an early tree death.

There are many important practices that should not be ignored. Here is a list of things to look out for:

You or your tree care professional should:

  • Not leave branch stubs
  • Make few or no heading cuts
  • Not cut off the branch collar (do not make a flush cut)
  • Not top or lion's tail trees
  • Not remove more than 25% of the foliage of a single branch
  • Not remove more than 25% of the total tree foliage in a single year


Santa Ynez Valley Tree Care
P.O. Box 1147, Santa Ynez, California 93460

(805) 688-5580

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