The primary objective of pruning young trees is to develop a framework of sturdy, well-spaced branches on a strong trunk. Good branch structure, proper form, and tree strength all develop with training pruning.

Pruning done early in a tree’s life removes weak branches and corrects form when branches are relatively small. This reduces the size of pruning wounds, which results in faster closure and less opportunity for decay.

Properly pruned and trained trees will live significantly longer, are healthier, and require less corrective pruning later. They will also be less susceptible to storm damage due to improved structure, and are therefore safer.

Pruning is especially critical in the first 15-20 years of a tree’s life. The pruning cycle should begin 2-3 years after planting and should be done at regular intervals. The pruning process removes portions of the tree to correct or maintain tree structure and form. Every cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree. Good pruning technique removes structurally weak branches while maintaining the natural form of the tree and the branch collar.

The goals of early structural pruning are trunk development and branch positioning.

Efforts are concentrated on removing crossing, rubbing, broken, diseased and weak-angled branches in the upper portion of the tree. We strive to eliminate double leaders and basal sprouts, selecting and developing one main leader on most species. “3-D” pruning is done to remove dead, damaged, and diseased portions.

The best form for most young trees is a single dominant leader growing upward. This leader is not pruned back nor are secondary branches allowed to outgrow the leader. Double leads, known as co-dominant stems, can lead to structural weakness, so it is best to remove these while the tree is young.

Temporary branches are not part of a mature tree’s crown, but do contribute to trunk development and protect the trunk from sun and mechanical injury. Temporary branches are in the lower third of the crown. They will eventually be removed when they become an inch or larger. They should not obstruct or compete with selected permanent branches.

Permanent branch selection is determined by the tree’s function and location in the landscape. Proper selection and establishment of these branches is a critical part of pruning. Branches selected as permanent branches must be well spaced along the trunk. Branches with a much narrower angle of attachment than is typical of the species are removed. All branches should be less than half the trunk diameter.

Remember, pruning is an ongoing process to be done regularly throughout a tree’s life. Proper training pruning will get your tree off to the best start. Pruning is both an art and a science. Let the certified arborists at Integrity Tree Services make your trees be the best they can be.

We know the growth habit of a tree before beginning the pruning process. Over-thinning and over-pruning are avoided. The leaves of each branch must manufacture enough food to keep that branch alive, as well as contribute to growth of the trunk and roots. We strive to remove no more than 25% of the foliage–10-20% maximum is usually the goal.

Schedule an appointment today with one of our certified arborists!

Water: The Elixir of Life





Water is the greatest component of most living things. We know how revitalizing a drink of water can be when thirsty. Water has been found to be the most limiting factor for plant growth. The results of lack of water may not show up immediately on large trees, but will become evident in the next few years.

Tree systems shut down under dry conditions. Water uptake and photosynthesis are 
reduced. Fine roots desiccate and die. A dangerous spiral of decline starts.

Adequate water can stop this spiral. Most trees require the equivalent of an inch of water per week. If nature does not provide enough water, you will need to supply supplemental 
water. Proper watering will be crucial for your tree’s health in 2014 and the future.

Water deep enough to soak the soil to a 6” depth and repeat only when the top 3” 
become dry. This promotes a deeper, healthier root system. Irrigation systems are set up 
primarily for turf grass (which can recover more readily from drought than trees, and is cheaper to replace). These irrigation systems produce a very shallow watering several times a week. Do not depend on your irrigation system to properly water trees.

Always check soil moisture before watering. Trees’ roots can be drowned with too much water. Water where it will do the most good, at the roots. Start watering a few feet from the trunk to well beyond the drip line of the tree. Avoid wetting the foliage. Mulch with organic materials such as bark wood chips to conserve moisture and moderate fluctuations.

Proper watering will help maintain your valuable trees and avoid stressing them. If you need guidance, the certified arborists at Integrity Tree Services are available to assist and guide you with tree care.

Deer & Vole Damage

In many areas, we see a great deal of damage from both deer and voles throughout the winter months.
How can you recognize this type of damage?

Deer: Where deer populations are too high, you will see evidence of leaves and twigs 
disappearing on numerous plants from the ground up to 5-6’ high. It usually begins in late fall through winter as other food sources disappear. However, the worst areas can be hit year round. Deer seem to prefer Yew, Cedar, Holly (mostly evergreens) and the tender buds from many other landscape trees and shrubs.

• For new landscaping, choose deer resistant plants.
• Place netting over plants for protection.
• Use deer repellents sprays.
• Work with the Department of Natural Resources to introduce ways
of reducing the deer population.
• Erect deer fencing.

Voles: Typically property owners do not notice that voles are destroying their prized trees/shrubs because they like to feed on the bark of the plant that’s out-of-sight. The damage will always be at the base of the tree or on the limbs/trunk of some plants as the snow begins to cover them giving the voles the privacy they like. In most cases, we receive a call in the spring that the tree/shrub is not looking very well. By that time, the damage is done and very often we have to remove it and replace it, costing our clients hundreds of dollars.

• Keep ground cover 6-12” from the trunks of trees/shrubs.
• Do not pile mulch above the root flare of trees/shrubs.
• Monitor your landscape in fall and winter for early
signs of damage.
• Use well placed bait and traps.

Both Deer and Voles can be difficult to control.
If you suspect either of these issues on your property, contact us immediately. We will send an arborist out to help you develop a realistic plan to gain back control of your landscape. Do not hesitate…your investment could be at risk.