Pruning large mature trees is time
consuming and difficult. McFarland
Arborists have the combination of knowledge,
experience and skill required to
accurately assess the needs of such trees.
Considering the consequences of bad
pruning and wrong diagnosis, we do not
hesitate when it comes to recommending
the correct treatment, even when
we know that we are often telling our
clients what they
don’t want to hear.
The photographs in this post are of an incredible Elm tree that we have been maintaining for more than twenty years. Our crew spent two days in this tree checking its lightning protection system, adjusting cables, and pruning. It takes time and hard
work to keep old trees healthy and safe.
Large, old trees often fail. When
growing in landscape settings without
competition, they grow horizontally
as much as they do vertically. The best
way to reduce the risk of failure in such
trees is to climb out on the ends and
prune them back to healthy lateral
branches. This is called crown reduction
and it is an essential step in mature tree
There are no shortcuts for this work.
Deadwooding and thinning the crown,
while important parts of proper pruning,
are often not enough when considering
the long-term health of a tree. If a tree
person promises to get more trees done
in the same amount of time, or the same
tree in half the time, it is because they are taking short cuts and
not doing a thorough job.
At McFarland’s, we take pride in the
fact that we will always recommend
what is best for the trees and safest for the client and their family first. Because
of our knowledge, experience and skills,
our clients can always be confident
that their trees are getting the best care
Hedge pruning is a very important
part of your garden maintenance.
Often it is done incorrectly. Frequently,
hedges are sheared into uniform shapes
without any knowledge of the species
involved or consideration for the future
of the plant.
When pruning, it is important to
make sure that sunlight will be able to
reach the lower and interior branches.
One way to accomplish this is to taper
the hedge so the top is more narrow
than the bottom. The next important
step is to hand prune openings, or
holes, throughout the outer growth of
the shrub to allow sunlight penetration
to the inner part of the plant. When this
step is not followed, the plant continues
to grow larger, often becoming badly
shaped, and lacks the inner growth to
sustain the proper shape of the hedge.
Some of the more common evergreen
hedges are Yew, Boxwood,
Hemlock, and Arborvitae. All of these
hedges must be pruned at least once
yearly, preferably twice, in order to
maintain a thick and healthy appearance.
Best times to prune are late
winter or early spring before the new
growth begins, and summer when the
majority of the new growth is finished.
Deciduous hedges, such as Privet,
are fast growers and need to be pruned
more often, although they will recover
from drastic pruning more readily.
Fertilization, insect control, and
proper watering also are essential
aspects of maintaining a healthy and
Well-maintained hedges provide
privacy, structure and beauty to a garden
for many years. Hedge pruning
requires knowledge, expertise and skill
and is a unique aspect of McFarland’s
custom pruning services which we feel
As a full-service tree company, we
spend a lot of time taking down or
removing dead wood from large, unsafe
trees. This is an important part of tree
care, but we also take pride in our
crews that specialize in custom pruning
of small trees and shrubs. This par –
ticular aspect of our services, we feel, is
When custom pruning, health,
beauty, vigor and plant longevity are the
four goals we focus on. Every species of
tree or shrub has different characteristics
that need to be taken into account.
For example, boxwoods and crab –
apples are prone to disease, and a primary
concern when pruning them is to
remove diseased branches in a way that
prevents the disease from spreading to
the rest of the plant. Lilacs need to have
old growth removed in order to increase
vigor and flower production. Flowering
shrubs, such as azaleas and rhododendrons,
should be pruned after flowering
if they are going to be cut back significantly.
Crape myrtles should be pruned
in late winter or early spring because of
their susceptibility to winter damage.
Hedge pruning also requires a combination
of experience and craftsmanship.
If a hedge is simply sheared without
any allowance for sunlight penetration
to the lower and inner branches, it
will eventually become sparse, overgrown,
and ragged looking.
The management of a garden is an
art form that requires experience,
knowledge, and an eye for beauty. We
believe that our excellent custom pruning
distinguishes McFarland managed
properties from others.
McFarland has maintained this beautiful Japanese Cutleaf Maple for over 25 years—an example of how proper custom pruning increases plant beauty, vigor and longevity.