What is bad tree trimming?

A few simple words to try and describe improper tree pruning:

Topping:  stubbing off tree tops or tree branches. These Tipu trees in Encinitas on El Camino real were topped.

Parking lot trees topped in an attempt to make smaller


Lion tailing or Poodle tailing: Stripping or “cleaning” out the inside of a tree canopy. eliminating all of the much needed lower lateral limbs and or internal growth, while neglecting the tips and ends of the branches.  This Pepper tree in Encinitas was stripped up and left heavy  … 

Spiking or using telephone pole climbing gaffs: Using spikes is a lazy way to climb if pruning. The holes left in this queen palm are unsightly and will never heal. The damage could lead to decay and the tree breaking and falling.

damage from climbing gaffes

Does your queen palm look like this?
-A palm tree in San diego with holes from climbing gaffs

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International Society of Arboriculture

An arborist, by definition, is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees. The question is; Do all “arborists” do the correct thing?

Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care. To maintain an arborist certification, one must keep up with continuing education units. Some Arborists actually study and want to really learn while others just go to the easy and fun Arborist seminars and confrences and collect CEU’s.AKA (continuing education units). These conferences are very educational- Don’t get me wrong, but I have seen some guys actually sign in, disappear, and then return later to sign out. THATS CHEATING!

Some tree services like to use arboriculture terms when they are really just hacking trees. For example, I was at a chevron gas station in Encinitas, and tree company from Los Angeles, just mutilating these poor Sycamore trees. I approached the guy in the man lift truck and asked, “what are you doing?” He said,

“Crown reduction”.

I said, “NO your not. Your just topping the trees!”

The trees were basically ruined.

Source: International Society of Arboriculture

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