Tree Care FAQ

Tree Care Questions and Answers


When should I prune my trees?

tree care pruningLight pruning to remove a few small branches from trees can be done at any time of year. More extensive pruning should be done from late winter to early spring. Pruning wounds close faster when completed prior to new shoots emerging. Also, there are fewer insects and disease spores to infest pruning cuts during this time.

Pruning during this time also results in a vigorous burst of new growth in the spring and should be used if that is the desired effect. It is usually best to wait until the coldest part of winter has passed. Some species, such as maple, walnuts and birches, may “bleed” when the sap begins to flow. This is not harmful and will cease when the tree leafs out–when the tree produces new foliage.

Deciduous trees that flower after May should be pruned in early spring. Flowering evergreens should be pruned in the spring and all conifers should be pruned during the winter to reduce the sap from bleeding.

If your purpose for pruning is to enhance flowering:

  • For trees that bloom in spring, prune when their flowers fade–begin to die off.
  • Trees and shrubs that flower in mid- to late summer should be pruned in winter or early spring.

Summer pruning can be done to direct the growth by slowing the branches you don’t want; or to slow “dwarf” the development of a tree or branch, pruning should be done soon after seasonal growth is complete. The reason for the slowing effect is that you reduce the total leaf surface, thereby reducing the amount of food manufactured and sent to the roots. Another reason to prune in the summer is for corrective purposes. Defective limbs can be seen more easily, or limbs that hang down too far under the weight of the leaves.

Why should I prune my trees?

tree pruningYou can help maintain your trees health by removing dead, diseased and broken or unstable branches. This makes the tree safe for your family and property.

Correct pruning procedures create and maintain a strong tree structure, preventing safety hazards such as low growing branches and growth forms subject to storm damage near a sidewalk, driveway or structure.

Pruning also can be done for aesthetic reasons, such as increasing the amount of sunlight onto your property or improving a view. Pruning a dense canopy on a tree to increase air and sunlight may result in fewer disease and pest problems. Pruning can also stimulate growth in sparse areas of the tree as well as restrict growth where too much growth is undesirable.

Pruning young trees correctly can train them into sound and stable mature trees. Remove co-dominant leaders. Co-dominant leaders are 2 branches growing near the top of a tree that grow straight up and become equally dominant. Cutting off one allows the other branch to grow & become the dominant branch. This prevents the branches from splitting and tearing. Lower (temporary) branches should remain to help develop trunk taper and strength, but should be removed the following season.

Mature trees are much more sensitive to pruning wounds and should be limited to removal of dead, dying, and diseased branches.

Pruning during the dormant season, which is usually winter, is ideal because it reveals the architecture of the tree and creates less debris.

Who should care for my trees?

tree crowning servicesOnly qualified professionals such as a certified arborist or a certified tree worker should be considered to complete a project at your home or business.

Unqualified individuals risk harming your trees, injuring themselves, or damaging your property in which case you could be held liable.

Why hire an arborist?

tree care consultationsAn arborist is a specialist trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining all species of trees.

Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Properly maintained trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Thus, a professional should be hired to complete the project safely. Only those properly trained and equipped to work safely in trees should be considered.

What is a certified arborist?

tree care consultationsCertified Arborists are specialists that have achieved a recognized professional level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care and have passed a comprehensive examination developed by national leading experts in the industry.

Certified Arborists must also continue their education to maintain their certification and adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics. Therefore, they will be completely up-to-date with the latest techniques in arboriculture. Certification is the process through which professionals can measure the knowledge and the competence required to provide proper tree care.

How do I select an arborist?

tree care consultationsArborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive exam covering all aspects of tree care.

To maintain certification, arborists must earn Continued Education Units by completing exams, attending professional seminars, or donating their services to affiliated organizations. Check for membership in professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture, Tree Care Industry Association, and the American Society of Consulting Arborists. Such membership demonstrates a commitment on the part of the arborist to stay current on techniques and safety information.

Why hire a licensed contractor?

tree care consultationsContractors are required to pass both a law and trade exam to become licensed in the state of California.

They are also required to carry a State Bond, and Workers Compensation and Liability Insurance. They must be legal citizens of the United States and have passed a thorough criminal background check. To maintain a current standing license, all of the required bonds and insurances must be up-to-date. For your protection, only hire licensed contractors! It is important to verify the status of a contractor’s license at

When is tree removal necessary?

tree removal serviceTrees are one of our most valuable assets, so removal is definitely a last resort.

A certified arborist should conduct a thorough inspection to determine whether or not removal is the proper solution. Removal would most likely be required if the tree presents a hazard or is damaged or diseased beyond repair. Often times pruning, fertilization and irrigation improve the health of a tree and may eliminate the need for removal.

Do you offer 24-hour emergency service?

tree-removal-gnThe force from a storm can easily overcome the strength of a trees limbs or roots. Preventative measures before storms such as pruning can avoid or minimize damage. In the event of an emergency situation, Coastal Tree Care is on call and equipped to provide you with an immediate solution.