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Whether you own or manage a commercial property, an association or a residence, healthy trees add value to your property and community

  • They can increase a property’s value by 20%.
  • They break the cold winds to lower your heating costs
  • The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000. Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers
  • 83% of realtors believe that mature trees have a ‘strong or moderate impact’ (98%)b on the salability of homes over $250,000. Arbor National Mortgage & American Forests
  • Visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension. Roger S. Ulrich Texas A&M University

Maintaining your trees is essential to maintaining their health and to mitigate the risk or personal injury or property damage. 


Late summer or fall is the time to do your planning, budgeting and scheduling for tree inspections.

Winter is the best time for an arborist to inspect, since the leaves have fallen the tree’s architecture can be seen. Any deadwood, fungus, cracks and other symptoms can be easily seen. 

Your tree care plan is dictated by tree species, age, function and placement. 

Two Most Important Reasons for Pruning

Scheduling regular tree inspections minimize the need for extra costs such as

Corrective pruning where a tree has suffered physical damage, broken or overlapping branches, double leaders*.
Pruning to remove disease-infected parts from trees.

Pruning for Safety

  • Removes dead or hazardous limbs about to fall
  • Trees growing too close to buildings are a fire hazard. Thinning out the top and sides or just removing individual limbs of the trees thins its overall mass.
  • Removal of lower tree branches to allow for pedestrians and car clearance.  (In San Francisco the lowest branches should be at least 8 feet above the sidewalk and 14 feet above the curb)

branches in blue indicate where pruned

Pruning for health

  • Structural pruning is essential and includes proper spacing between lateral branches and a dominant central leader (one main trunk in the center of the plant). A tree’s survival is at risk when there are double leaders competing to grow
  • Pruning for health by removing dead, diseased or dying branches helps
    • Suppresses disease, i.e. powdery mildew in some trees
    • Allows light to pass through
    • Reduces wind resistance
  • Pruning for health includes proper thinning which helps prevent disease and loss of vigor.

Example of Pruning for Health

Secondary Reason for Tree Pruning 


To enhance a tree’s natural form and character
One example is Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) in which this kind of pruning can encourage its beauty.

Another reason for aesthetic pruning is to stimulate flowering or fruit production.

Pruning a young tree is critical
Formative pruning will guide the tree to its appropriate form.  It will also correct structural deficiencies.

Don’t Cut Corners on Your Tree Plan

Some of the results improper pruning are

Creating structural defects
Aggravating insect or disease problems
Increasing the frequency of maintenance needs
Reducing a tree’s lifespan

Gardeners’ Guild can assist you in developing a tree care plan and budget.  It’s part of our maintenance service.
Call us with any questions at 510-439-3700 or 415-457-0400

Sources for this article:

Master Gardeners
U.C. Davis
University of Washington
Arbor Day Foundation


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