Tree trimming precautions

Tuesday, April 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

This is the time of year when people start trimming their trees. The trouble is, many people do it wrong, which kills the tree and leaves an eyesore in the neighborhood. KOTV's Lori Fullbright shows us some good and bad examples and explains how to make sure you do it right.

Mike Forest does big jobs and little jobs, what he can't stand are butcher jobs. "The neighborhood has to watch it deteriorate until it's dead, then, the city finally says, okay, it's gotta go." Forest has been trimming, pruning and cutting down trees for 20 years. He says people either aren't educated about a good job or don't want to spend the money. Either way, the tree, the neighborhood and the environment suffer. Take a Bradford pear tree. "They've totally cut the top out of it, every limb, it's what we call a hatrack in the business. It'll only grow out, it'll never grow up." As opposed to this one that Forest says was pruned properly because lower limbs were trimmed and it was thinned from the inside out. "Those trees will stay that way 10-15 years and it will only have what we call sucker growth. Those will be the biggest limbs you'll see on it again."

Forest says these silver maples will eventually die and have to be removed anyway, so better to do it now than leave this for the neighbors to look at. He says they'll look like this in a few years, just a mess of bushy little limbs shooting everywhere. "85-90 year old American Elm." Another tree was hanging over both homes and into the street, and the homeowner wanted to chop it down, but pruning it properly left a safer, more beautiful tree. "A real tree man will have trees like this for you to go look at. If he doesn't have one like this to show you, you shouldn't be hiring him."

Forest says trees produce oxygen, which cuts down on ozone problems, and give shade, which can cut down on air conditioning bills. If you want to trim your own trees, first, ask a professional for tips. Cut the limb in sections, not all at once. Don't put paint or tar over the cut, which prevents the tree from healing. And don't use a chainsaw while on a ladder. If you hire someone, ask for references, and then go look at the person's work. Ask if they have insurance. And if they need money before the work is finished, find someone else.