Most trees will need to be pruned at some time or another during their lifetime. Branches become damaged by high winds or boring insects and may be weakened by disease. People who own property with trees growing on it should be aware of the basic “Do’s” and “Don’t’s” of tree pruning.

The biggest “Don’t” in tree pruning is – don’t go out in the yard with a saw or loppers and hack off tree branches for any reason. All tree pruning must be done by a qualified Arborist with an AQF Level 3 or higher and most tree pruning requires permission from your local council. Property owners who make the mistake of pruning a tree will likely receive a large fine.

Another big “Don’t” of tree pruning is doing nothing at all. Don’t ignore obvious signs of disease. If a tree branch looks as though it has cracked or appears weakened, do have it inspected by a qualified Arborist right away. It could break and fall on a person or vehicle, causing painful or expensive damages. If the leaves on a tree branch appear discolored, wilted or are falling from the tree prematurely, do have the tree inspected. If there is a smattering of tiny holes in the bark of a tree or tree branch, do have it inspected right away. The tiny holes are a clear indication that boring insects have infested the tree.

Don’t call an Arborist with only an AQF Level 3 to inspect a diseased tree. Arborists at that level are usually only qualified to assess and prune weak, damaged limbs or limbs that need to be trimmed back away from structures. If there is any sign of disease, do call an Arborist with an AQF Level 4 or 5 who specializes in assessing and diagnosing tree diseases. Trees with diseases or boring insect infestations must be pruned correctly and the limbs must be disposed of properly. If they are simply thrown off into a side yard, left sitting around or improperly mulched, the disease or insects can be spread to otherwise healthy trees and shrubs.

Do take a look at trees on the property every fall and spring. In the fall, weak, dead or diseased limbs should be removed before severe winter storms and winds break them off the tree. In the spring, branches that have been weakened by the winter weather should be removed for safety. If anything suspicious is detected while inspecting the trees, call in a qualified Arborist right away to take care of the problem.