WNY Land Conservancy Talk

Tree Pruning / Tree Trimming

There are many different reasons why a tree should be pruned. Some objectives for pruning trees are to:

  • Increase the chances of successful futures for young trees
  • Take branches off a roof or important structure while attempting to maintain the integrity of the tree
  • Improve fruit production in a backyard fruit tree
  • Raise branches so that they do not impede on walkways or sidewalks
  • Remove large pieces of dead wood over an area in your yard where children play

In our view, the primary purpose of pruning trees is to improve structure, remove damaged or unhealthy limbs, reduce limbs for clearance, and maintain health. Although aesthetics is a consideration, our concern primarily is for the health and structure of a tree. We make proper cuts using the best methods possible to give your tree the best chance to wound over. We access the tree with pole pruners or via bucket truck or climbing. When we climb, we use ropes, harnesses, and cambium savers to protect the tree and never use spikes on a tree that is not being removed.

WNY Land Conservancy Talk

General Pruning Maintenance

Regular pruning and trimming of trees is recommended to ensure their healthy growth. This maintenance activity involves the removal of dead wood, crossing branches, and ensuring that the tree does not interfere with power lines, buildings, swimming pools, gardens, and other structures. It also provides an opportunity to examine the tree up close, which can help identify any underlying issues that may not be visible from the ground.

Fruit Tree Pruning

Fruit tree pruning has an entirely different objective than most prunes: it is normally high-quality and reachable fruit! There are many ways to accomplish this, though the easiest is to train a tree while it is still planting. Keeping a tree short for ease of harvest, and open for letting sunlight and airflow reach all branching. Different fruit trees have different shapes for maximum fruit production. Many fruit trees benefit from a modified central leader and some from a multi-leader form. Developing nice scaffold branching can be as simple as pruning and as involved as training young sprouting branches to grow horizontally through different methods. We have pruned small hobby orchards of a few dozen trees, though normally a homeowner has a few prize fruit trees they are interested in maintaining for their enjoyment.

We are also capable of pruning established and neglected fruit trees. This is a different process, though the goals are the same.

Young Tree Pruning

The old proverb that a ‘stitch in time save nine’ fits very appropriately for young tree pruning. Trees that have been pruned regularly in their young years don’t develop large issues as they age. Issues that can either create great harm to the tree itself or adjacent property or life.

Trees grown in a forest and not an urban or suburban landscape are developed by the access to light normally to a stereotypical form with very few lower branches and a strong central leader with appropriately sized scaffolding branches with a nice ratio compared to the trunk. They normally grow slower and their wood is normally more dense. Trees grown in a yard with unlimited access to light have no reason to develop in this form, light is abundant and they branch out high and wide grabbing light everywhere they grow a branch. When this occurs co-dominant leads often develop which greatly increases the chances of tree failure. It also can be as simple as training the tree away from a structure so the lean if any is a desired direction. Cutting branches before they develop too large can save a tree from a permanent wound that never heals and creates rot in the trunk.

The most common young tree pruning is developing a health-central leader mimicking the healthy forest-grown tree. While pruning lower branches is normally not detrimental to the tree, it is not necessary for the tree’s health. If you have a fruit tree that has lower branches that create conflict with your sidewalk or lawn mowing, we can prune them!

Hedge + Pollarding

We will shape and pollard small hedge rows or specimen bushes on your property. We usually will use shears or hand pruners and, with your guidance, we can do a quick shape, or in some instances, we have taken days on the canopy over a walkway or a very lengthy and tall hedge row that is well taken care of. While it isn’t regular tree work, it is a service we regularly provide and are happy to do!

Tree Planting and Landscape Design

We love planting trees! Trees provide us (and the world) with so much! One great thing you can do for the world and future generations is to plant trees. We especially love native varieties that help our local ecology. We plant all types of containers, transplanted, balled and burlapped, and bare roots. We like to plant in the early spring or late fall when water is more plentiful and transplant shock is not as much of a concern. When we plant we like to give our trees the best start with mulch, trunk protector, stakes, and beneficial soil microbes. If the site already has healthy soil, then soil amendments aren’t necessary. If it is a degraded site, soil amendments may be helpful. Stakes are to be taken down after a year. A trunk protector is put in place so that weed whackers or lawn mowers don’t damage the trunk—I see more newly planted trees die from the weed wacker than anything else. Trees need to be watered regularly for two years, especially during drought and dry times. We will go over more specifics if you do choose to have a tree planted.

We, as the human species, have taken up the majority of the land for our purposes. As author Doug Tallamy writes “You are nature’s best hope.” How you maintain your yard is very important and can a vital role in the survival of many birds, butterflies, and other pollinator species. Many yards have lots of lawn that is maintained but never used—this could be a great place for a tree! Trees have so many great benefits that you may not even know of. They are natural air conditioners, they clean the air, combat global warming, provide oxygen, prevent water pollution, stabilize the soil, provide food, and are clinically proven to promote healing, provide habitat for wildlife and increase property values. Many yards rarely get fully used and, in my opinion, there is nearly always room for a tree. Here are three ideas to the right to contemplate and look through.

Benefits of Native Buffalo Area Trees

If you are looking for a large shade tree with great fall leaves or a showy flowering tree that doesn’t grow that high—we always recommend native trees! They are amazing and beautiful and they have all the tree types that one could need.

  • They are vital to the health of our Western New York region
  • They are not invasive
  • They don’t come with foreign bugs or diseases that can decimate our forests like the Elm, Ash, or Chestnut disasters to name only a few
  • Native trees feed our ecology in all ways, the relationships they have built over thousands of years
  • Native trees also are acclimated to our climate so they are more resilient and don’t need extra fertilizers and extra watering to stay alive 
  • They know what our Buffalo weather is like!

Buffalo Niagara Water Keeper Native Plant Guide

All types of plants trees, grasses, shrubs, vines, perennials and design options.

Great DEC Plant Sale

Plant Sale every spring for very small trees mostly but not exclusively native but at very affordable prices. Either way good resource in varieties.

Cabling & Bracing

Tree cabling & bracing is a simple way to help support weak branches or compromised unions. Cabling can be a good option to prolong the life of trees that have co-dominant stems or an important limb that needs support. Sometimes, it can even be beneficial to cable a tree that has no sign of decay if it is over a playground or bedroom. It never can hurt to provide additional support. 

Several different materials of cables and connectors can be used for different uses. The main two categories are dynamic and static cables. Dynamic cables are normally non-invasive and wrap around the tree. This allows the cables to grow with the tree. Living trees build their own defense against stress by piling wood fiber onto vulnerable areas (this is why you may see big buttress roots on a tree in a windy area or a very bulgy union that holds a lot of weight). Artificially over-stiffening such areas can cause growing trees to curtail these natural defenses, this is why dynamic cables allow room for movement.

Another option is a static cable that doesn’t have any stretch. Usually, this cable is an extra-high-strength steel cable that is attached to the tree with bolts and other hardware to hold tree branches and limbs in place, preventing them from breaking, growing awkwardly, or bending. Tree cables of any kind should be checked annually and replaced after about 10 years. Tree cabling gives a tree the support it needs to continue growing properly.

Tree Removal in Buffalo and Surrounding Areas

While it may not be an easy decision to make, in certain circumstances, tree removal is the best option. We don’t take tree removal lightly and work safely for ourselves, the customer, and the property involved. We work regularly doing removals in tight spots with houses, wires, and driveways. We have a bucket truck that allows us to access trees and, in cases this does not work, we can climb. We have thick synthetic mats that we lay down over your lawn to protect it. We inspect trees before and during removals for any hazards that we may need to accommodate. We use ropes and blocks to safely lower limbs and wood down to the ground. We keep in mind your property with your garden, yard, and wishes in mind and communicate expectations as clearly as possible as some trees can be a major undertaking.

While most trees can be removed safely in a day, some trees take longer depending on size and location.

We have removed trees from properties in the City of Buffalo, Amherst, Williamsville, Hamburg and more areas of Western New York.

Learn more about emergency tree removal and services

Stump Grinding

We grind stumps of all sizes. Some people have construction plans that a stump is in the way of a concrete pad, driveway, or fence. Some need a stump ground out so they can put the lawn back, plant another tree, or whatever reason you need the stump ground out. We can grind the stump out and leave the grindings or haul them away put soil down and plant grass. It is important that we take into consideration gardens, other tree roots, and what your goal is to ensure safe and thoughtful service.

We use a standard stump grinder on tracks to grind stumps out. If you don’t know what a stump grinder is or how it works, it is very simple. It is a large wheel with teeth that spins and grinds the stump pass by pass. We have to leave some room when stump grinding right up to a structure, driveway, sidewalk, or living tree. Additionally, if a fence is grown in it or it has foreign debris like concrete or metal, it will cause the teeth to be replaced prematurely. It usually is done in under an hour but a large stump can take a few hours. It will leave a pile of stump grindings mixed with soil, this can be used as a wood chip substitute or put in a low spot on your land, or thrown away. At an additional charge, we can also remove it and replace it with soil and grass seed if desired. Rarely, but in certain circumstances, if the tree or shrub stump we are grinding is so small we will hand dig a stump.

Crown reduction/lead reduction

We perform whole canopy reductions on small ornamentals (like Japanese Maples, Flowering Crab Apples, and Dogwoods) to large trees (such as Silver Maple, Elm, and Oak). The process and issues are different in size and scope of work for us but issues are fundamentally the same. Many times people have a perfect landscape installed or tree planted and after the first couple of years, the trees or shrubs just won’t stop growing. So we are often called to and regularly shape and reduce small ornamental trees. This can usually be accomplished with pole pruners, hand pruners, and a hand saw on small trees.

On larger trees, the issues may be different with the concern being for the safety of trees, houses, and people underneath. If you aren’t worried about aesthetics, we can reduce a large lead over a house. Reducing a large lead, instead of removing it from the trunk, will maintain the integrity of the tree. Reducing cuts take the branch, whether it be a main leader or scaffolding branch, to an appropriate-sized lateral. 

SNAGS—Why dead trees are so alive?

Trees provide food, shelter and air for countless species throughout their lives. What we don’t always think about is how much trees give life after their life is over.

Other Services

Emergency Tree