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Common Tree Owner Questions and Concerns

ISAWhile people are drawn to our rural Keystone community for varying reasons, trees are often an accent to many of them.

From Cypress trees lining lakefronts to majestic Live Oaks providing shade for our equine community and families alike, we are fortunate to be surrounded by such an abundance of nature. Unfortunately, our trees and landscapes are often mismanaged. Finding an Arborist is a good start, but like any profession, please vet them as not all are created equal. Find a local Arborist.

When is the best time to trim my trees? How often should I have them trimmed? What do I need to do for storm/hurricane preparedness?

These are common questions tree owners often ask. It is important to not only understand the answers, but to get the correct answers, in order to limit risk and promote overall health of our valued assets.

There is not one broad brush or method to maintaining the varying tree species on your property. Pruning prescriptions and maintenance plans are specific to individual trees and a tree owner’s needs. One of the most common mistakes is over-pruning trees, which can have long-term negative health affects and increase tree failure potential. While optimal pruning timeframes can vary for tree species and owner needs, a general rule of thumb to live by is late Winter which does minimize pruning stress impacts for most species.

How often should we have them trimmed?

Pruning should be completed on an as-needed basis as it is a form of stress to the tree. However, pruning is often needed in the urban landscape to reduce risk, allow for drive and structure clearances, as well as aesthetics. It is generally good practice to minimize the number and size of cuts. Each cut requires energy from stored sugars to properly seal as trees do not heal, they seal.

Unfortunately, hurricane season is a time of year when so-called Arborists sell unnecessary work through fear-based tactics. A good storm preparedness program starts with removing dead trees and those that have a known history of failures and pruning trees that may be in contact or encroaching on structures or utilities throughout your property. Structural pruning, find out more here,  is a great way to mitigate risk and tree failure potential during normal and extreme weather conditions. All trees, even healthy ones, present a level of risk and risk thresholds vary from tree owner to owner. Over-pruning, also known as “lions tailing, to let the air blow through” will increase failure rates under normal and extreme weather conditions. Side note, over-pruning also reduces available photosynthate (food) producing canopy which is critical to tree health and defense.

This is a very basic tree review and tree owners should consult an experienced Arborist for a full pruning prescription and maintenance plan specific to their property and needs.

Mark Hughes Vice President of KCA

September 2021
1. Aug 2021 Ice Cream Social
2. Common Tree Owner Questions and Concerns
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5. Livestock Registration Program
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