Three Men And A Tree Inc is a full service tree company specializing in the latest safety, pruning, and rigging techniques available today. We care for trees of all shapes and sizes followed by an impeccable clean-up. We can’t wait to be your total tree care professionals. CA license #1041850


Three Men and a Tree were on the news! Local Arborist Explains How To Assess Trees For Possible Risks



Structure Pruning

Young to medium-aged tree may develop multiple leaders or codominant stems which are considered weaker than trees with one trunk. Large maturing trees usually perform best and last longest if they grow with one main leader. Structural pruning helps the tree develop one main leader and one trunk.

There are six main reasons for executing a structural pruning program. These include the following:

  • Develop or maintain a dominant leader
  • Identify lowest branch in the permanent canopy
  • Prevent branches below the permanent canopy from growing upright or too large
  • Space main branches along a dominant trunk
  • Keep all branches less than one-half the trunk diameter
  • Suppress growth on branches with bark inclusions



Crown thinning is the removal of a portion of smaller/tertiary branches, usually at the outer crown, to produce a uniform density of foliage around an evenly spaced branch structure. It is usually confined to broad-leaved tree species. Crown thinning does not alter the overall size or shape of the tree.


Tree lacing and thinning. selective removal of branches to increase light penetration and air movement through the crown. Thinning opens the foliage of a tree, reduces weight on heavy limbs, and helps retain the trees natural shape.


Crown cleaning consists of selective removal of dead, dying, diseased and weak branches from a tree's crown. Objective: As a tree grows, defective branches and watersprouts are found in the tree's crown from time to time.


Crown reduction is the selective removal of branches and stems to decrease the height and/or spread of a tree or shrub. This type of pruning can be used to make the entire tree or portions of the tree smaller, which can reduce the likelihood of failure and direct branch growth away from buildings or signs.


The Difference Between Topping and Crown Reduction Pruning

I came across this article by: John Eisenhower, ISA Certified Arborist WE-5213A Integrity Tree Service, Inc. A lot of customers ask me questions about this on a regular basis and I thought it would be a good share.


Topping is the “T” word in the tree industry. It is the unacceptable pruning practice of reducing the height or spread of a tree using heading cuts. Heading cuts reduce the trunk or branches of a tree to stubs or to lateral branches too small to assume the terminal role of the branch being cut. In spite of providing short-term control of tree size, topping causes serious future problems. When a tree or shrub is topped, several things happen:

  1. The branch at the point of the heading cut produces a flush of new growth, usually numerous, vigorous and disorganized sprouts. This “witch’s broom” of new growth destroys the tree’s natural growth habit and beauty. Sprouts are often long and upright with little variation in shape and structure.
  2. In producing such profuse growth to replace the lost foliage, the plant is soon as tall as it was before topping. But now the crown is denser, requiring extra time and effort to prune.
  3. The sprouts also create a foliage shell, shading the plant’s interior, often causing inside branches to die back.
  4. Finally, the new sprouts are weakly attached, crowded and prone to breakage. Although topping is sometimes done to make trees safer, trees can become more hazardous after topping.

The alternative to topping is Crown Reduction.

Crown Reduction is the selective removal of live branches to decrease the height or spread of a tree’s crown. Use of drop-crotch pruning cuts is required. A drop-crotch pruning cut removes the end of a branch by cutting back to a crotch created by a lateral branch. This side branch needs to be at least 1/3 the diameter of the branch being cut. If the branch is 1/3 the diameter of the parent branch or larger, water and nutrients will be redirected into the lateral branch and it will assume the terminal growth responsibility of the removed branch. The tree will produce less sprouts at the point of the pruning cut and the tree’s natural growth habit will be preserved.


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