Tips for Tree Maintenance

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Tips for Tree Maintenance

The hot summer months are behind us and our trees are preparing to enter the dormancy period, making October the perfect time of year to prune trees. Implementing proper pruning techniques will extend the life of a tree for many more years. Look at pruning not as a chore or mundane task, but as meditative and proactive approach to get closer to nature and investing in your landscape. To help facilitate the task of tree maintenance and pruning, follow these tips: 

  • Depending on the size of the canopy, a variety of tools can be used to get the job done.  Remember to always keep your tools clean as they will provide a more efficient cut. The most essential and primary tools for pruning are (clockwise from top left) clippers, loppers, a curved blade saw, and an electric pole chainsaw.


  • Never top your trees, this improper technique will encourage sprouting and will expose branches to disease, insects and fungi. Also, never remove more than is necessary; when pruning always have a purpose and remember not to exceed removing more than 15% of the canopy in a single pruning session. 

  • When selecting the branches to remove, always start by removing damaged/broken limps that are often caused by wind and previous improper cuts. Next, remove any dead/diseased branches, which can be identified by a lack of color and foliage. Finally, remove any rubbing/crossed branches, these can be found in most trees and during windy days they cause friction and expose branches to disease.  

  • Always implement the 3-cut method to remove larger branches (larger than 1”).  Develop sound canopy structure by removing co-dominant stems, but make sure removed branches are no more than three times as thick as the remaining branch to maintain integrity of the tree.      

pruning image

For additional information on tree pruning, check out these resources: 

Tree Pruning Standards 

City of Tucson Landscape Maintenance Manual 


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