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Natural Form Pruning

high_in_treeNatural form pruning is an approach that end result leaves the tree looking like it was not worked on. It should look like it grew that way - natural. Mortensen Tree Service removes branches that are dead, dying, diseased, insect infested, broken, poorly attached, and branches of interferance (interfering with structures, other branches, or are too low over sidewalks and streets violating city codes).

Pruning is the most common tree maintenance procedure. Proper pruning is essential in developing a young tree with a strong structure and desirable form. Trees that are correctly pruned when they are young will require little corrective pruning when they mature.  Mature trees are approached differently than young trees.  Their structure is in place. With large mature trees maintaining safety and reducing risk to persons or property is a big factor. But we also believe that no branch should be removed without good reason. Proper pruning is done sparingly.

Pruning: A Three Part Equation

Natural form pruning is a three part equation: part art, part science, part common sense. If any part of the equation is missing, the results can be disastrous, causing damage that can last the life of the tree, compromise it's structural integrity, and shorten the tree's life.



In a landscape setting, we sometimes need to modify the trees so people and the trees can co-exist. Safety is of paramount importance, and how this is achieved to complement other landscape plantings, structures, and lawns can be a delicate balance to achieve and maintain good tree health and structure while enhancing the aesthetic and economic values of our landscapes.

Understanding tree biology is critical in determining the approach to pruning. The leaves are the "food factories" for the trees. That is what separates the plant kingdom from the animal kingdom. Plants produce their own food through a process called photosynthesis, which occurs in the leaves. The leaves also store energy. The leaves are essential for the tree to produce the sugars used as energy for growth and development.


Heavy pruning can severely stress a tree, making it vulnerable and unable to fight insects and disease. If too much of the foliage mass is removed by heavy pruning, the tree will have a defensive reaction to replace the leaves and it does this by producing rapidly growing suckers and sprouts. These suckers and sprouts are not true branches, originating from parent wood, but are superficially and weakly attached. I think of it kind of like a rubber tipped dart or arrow. They are very prone to failure.

Each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree. Many factors need to be considered before any cut is made. How the cut is made is also critical. Trees do not heal like people. They compartmentalize the injury. They actually build walls around the injury, and this stays with the tree forever.

Common Sense:

Young trees are approached differently than mature trees. With young trees the emphasis is on developing structure and form. If done correctly, the tree will require little corrective pruning when it is mature. If done incorrectly, the tree will require constant maintenance and be compromised throughout its lifetime. With mature trees the structure is already in place. Therefore, when pruning mature trees the approach should focus on safety, removing dead branches, crowded limbs, and eliminating hazards.

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