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Tree Removal Service Des Moines
Tree Service Des Moines
TCIA Tree Care Specialist
Tree Removal Des Moines
Tree Risk Assessment Qualified
Tree Trimming Des Moines

   Olson Tree Care​​​  

Diagnostic and Consulting Tree Care Arborist.

Trimming a Tree up


       Trimming a Tree up is a common request we hear at Olson Tree Care in Des Moines, Iowa. This request implies a negative, that the tree is a nuisance. 

       While many love trees, it is often conditional on them conforming to humans. Failure for a Tree to conform means death! 

       Understanding if your tree needs trimmed is required, as it is difficult to get a positive from a negative.

       Five positives that are more important than 1 negative.

       1. Lower branches assist in uptake and increase the health of the crown.

       2. Lower branches buffer wind reducing likelihood of tree cracks in many trees.

       3. Lower branches shade the root system reducing moisture evaporation in the topsoil.

       4. Lower branches protect the trunk of thin barked trees from sun scalding.

       5. Lower branches (with the exception of sun starved areas) are higher in photosynthate production.

       6. Lower branches help with the effects of Drought on a Tree.

        Full removal of lower branches is a thumbs down for Arborists in most cases. The appropriate course of action is lower thinning cuts to each branch while retaining the health of that branch. (limit elongation)

       It is a difficult battle for Tree Services as many perceive value in Tree Trimming Techniques. Often without proper Arborist Consultation a Tree Owner may be increasing costs down the line.

Disfigured tree with poor health

Trimming a Tree Up

A negative in most cases

Lower Branch Removal Alternatives.


       Decades of society “trimming trees up” (combined with very little pushback from those in Tree Service) has left a hole when it comes to alternative pruning methods to Lower Branch Removal.

What are some alternatives?

       1. Directional training.

       - This pruning technique combines lower thinning cuts to the offending branch with lower thinning cuts to the branches in the way of upward and sunward growth. (Photo and Geo Tropism) This technique reduces elongation of lower branches due to competition.

       2. Branch Reduction.

       - Reduction cuts can be a great long term solution (provided the branch has not been lions-tailed). Positive lower growth is to be enhanced while elongation of the overall branch is reduced. Aggressive cutting back to the next viable lateral as a form of reduction is not a good practice. The goal should be specific end reduction cuts creating density.

       3. Growth Regulation.

       - Growth regulators are gaining traction on trees in tight spaces. The reduction of inter-nodal length combined with an increase in the number of buds is an attractive option. 2 detractors may be the limited research on tree health decades after regulation and timely Arborist application.

       4. Do nothing at all. 

       - Complications may include insurance, risk, damage and reduced ability to implement a plan of action based on health, age or size.