tree pruning

Get rid of that Dead Wood!

Removing dead wood makes your trees happy!

Trees that have been stressed in the past, have had some sort of damage or are infected with a pest can all show signs of deadwood in the canopy. Dead wood is exactly what it sounds like, dead branches that show up in your tree. They can be small 1/2” branches all the way up to large limbs 10-15” in diameter that threaten anyone or anything that happens to be under the tree.


Many times trees can produce dead wood from environmental factors like droughts or overly hot summers. This can lead to dead limbs popping up all over in the upper canopy. The dead wood can easily be seen when the tree is full of leaves because the barren limbs stand out against the vibrant green of the other leafed limbs. You can usually spot trees with stressed branches by looking for "flagging". Flagging is when the leaves on one branch turn yellow early in the season. These limbs stand out like a sore thumb! If you see dead limbs or flagging limbs, be sure to call a Certified Arborist to take care of your tree!


This large "Widow Maker" was removed with a crane from a large Cottonwood tree in Fort Gratiot, Michigan.

This large "Widow Maker" was removed with a crane from a large Cottonwood tree in Fort Gratiot, Michigan.

Other times we have noticed significant deadwood from things like ice storms or wind damage. This usually leads to large leads being broken and then lodging themselves onto lower limbs. These are called “widow makers” because they are extremely dangerous to have hanging over one’s head and property. We highly recommend removing “widow makers” as soon as you become aware of them to reduce the risks involved.

You can also help prevent decay in your tree by removing any dead wood that you can see in the canopy. This allows the tree to start the healing process of sealing off where the dead limb used to be. Trees cannot heal over until the dead limb is removed. Large cavities can result from large pieces of dead wood breaking off and leaving jagged wounds that hold water and facilitate rot and decay.

This Maple had multiple cavities from poor pruning maintenance.

This Maple had multiple cavities from poor pruning maintenance.

Sometimes limbs can die because they are infected with a disease or a bug that is bound to impact the rest of your tree. By removing dead wood you can help reduce the spread of diseases throughout the canopy.. Our #1 goal is making your tree as healthy as possible while also making it as safe as possible for you and your family.

An important note to keep in mind is leaving beneficial deadwood in trees that don't pose a threat to you or your loved ones. Many beneficial insects including honey bees use trees with large hollows for their nests as well as birds that feed of the insects that live in the dead limbs. Be sure to consult with us on where the largest priorities lie on your property as well as read our next blog post about creating wildlife snags!


When is the best time to prune trees?

Winter is the best time to prune your trees!

Have you ever noticed your trees in the wintertime? Probably not! Most people only pay attention to their trees when the leaves start to emerge or when the leaves start to change color. Do you know when the best time is to prune your beautiful trees? You guessed right! In the winter!


Trees go dormant in the winter months which means their growth cycle as well as their developmental and physical activity slows. Trees do this to help conserve energy through the long winter months. Since there are no leaves, the tree also slows down its sugar uptake which is usually used to conduct photosynthesis. By pruning limbs in the cold months the tree can redirect most of its energy to healing over the wound created by pruning cuts.


Pruning in the summer months can lead to the tree bleeding unsightly sap from pruning wounds as well as unnecessary stress caused to the tree. Trees that are stressed are more susceptible to diseases as well as leaf loss. You never want your tree to lose its leaves in the hot summer months because this can lead to sun scorch as well as dead limbs that are unsightly as well as unsafe.  


We recommend pruning trees when the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature guideline helps reduce the spread of unwanted diseases to your healthy trees as well as unwanted stress. Most beetles that spread diseases stop moving around the 45 degree mark and thats when we like to get into the trees! Our goal is to provide you with great service as well as keeping your trees healthy through the whole process.


It’s also much easier to visually see the branch structure when the leaves are no longer on the tree.  This helps you, the home owner, see exactly what we plan to do while pruning and accessing the canopy of your tree. If you have any questions about the best time for pruning your tree please contact us here!