Big Tree Pruning

Big Tree Pruning

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 maintenance.

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 possible.

Elm Tree

Maintaining Healthy Hedges

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.

Healthy Hedge

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 vigorous hedge.

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 are unrivaled.

Custom Pruning

Tree Before Pruning

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 unrivaled.

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.

Custom Pruning

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.

Regulate Tree Growth

Rainbow Treecare

What is Cambistat?

Cambistat is the newest tree growth regulator with the active ingredient paclobutrazol. It is highly effective at reducing the growth rate of trees over a three year period, and thus is an excellent method of reducing tree maintenance costs. Extensive research and field trials have also shown that indirect effects on growth regulation can provide numerous health benefits for trees. By reducing the amount of energy allocated to shoot growth, more energy/carbon/substrates are available for other uses. Research has shown trees treated with Cambistat have the following responses:

  • Tree growth rate is reduced between 40 – 60 % for three years with one treatment of Cambistat®.
  • Root system enhancement
  • Improve drought and heat resistance
  • Higher tolerance to disease
  • Increase health and longevity

*Courtesy Rainbow Treecare

Cambistat® is a soil-applied tree growth regulator that reduces tree growth 40% to 60% over a three year period.

Cambistat Increases the Lifespan and Durability of Yard Trees

Cambistat works by making the tree more conservative. Slower growth rate means energy is shunted into increased root mass, increased defenses, thicker leaves, and increased storage. A slower growing tree needs fewer resources – including water, minerals and energy. This reduced resource need raises the threshold of stress needed to injure the tree. For many mature yard trees, the deficiency level of the growing site is already past this stress threshold. By reducing the tree’s growth rate – health and longevity can be restored.

*Courtesy Rainbow Treecare

Stimulating Fibrous Root Growth

Re-directing Excess Energy

When Cambistat reduces the growth rate of the tree, it frees up energy, carbon and other substrates that would have been used for that growth. These get shunted back into the tree and are available for use for other functions. One of the responses by the tree is an increase in fibrous root growth.

*Courtesy Rainbow Treecare

Cambistat increases fibrous root growth, but decreases woody root growth

Root to Shoot Ratio

A major issue with trees growing in lawns and other urban sites is a poor root to shoot ratio. This basically means that compared to trees growing in more natural settings, there is more top growth as compared to fibrous roots. This has obvious repercussions that lead to trees that are more prone to stress. By reducing the top growth and increasing the fibrous root growth, applying Cambistat will increase this important ratio.

Linden on the right was treated in 1992 to keep it out of the powerlines. The untreated tree was across the street

*photo courtesy of Dr. Bill Chaney – Purdue University

Where Do Arborists Use Cambistat?

Cambistat is used in many situations. Here are some examples.

  • Increase time needed between prunings
  • Enhance root development in chlorotic trees
  • Stimulate root growth when roots are severed
  • Stabilize slow declining trees
  • Improve defense to certain diseases
  • Maintain trees near buildings
  • Reduce growth of trees near power lines
  • Extend longevity of trees in sites with limited resources
  • Enhance durability and longevity of mature trees
  • Improve durability of transplanted trees over 4″ in diameter
  • Help preserve trees after construction injury
  • Pre-stress conditioning before construction, drought, etc.
  • Minimize damage caused by drought to weakened trees

To discover more about the brilliance of Cambistat follow this link:

Have more questions about Cambistat? Just fill out this form or call our number below.

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