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Improper Pruning

Joseph O'Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Not all trees can be reduced without predisposing the tree to decline and death. Pruning for utility line clearance does not always follow desirable pruning techniques in regards to appearance and health of the tree. In this situation, the needs of the utility right-of-way take priority over the tree. When a tree under a power line requires frequent reduction, consider having the tree removed.

 In planting trees, selection criteria (i.e., size and placement) should be followed so that a tree’s health and appearance will never be compromised by the need for utility pruning.

Shade trees should never be topped. The regrowth of a topped tree is structurally unsound. Topping required by utility right-of-way pruning is starkly obvious and sets an unfortunate community standard followed by others. Instead of topping, use cleaning, thinning, and/or proper reduction methods.

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