Pruning & Tree Cabling

Tree Pruning

Young Tree Training

YTT is the most important pruning practice.  It is done to establish a dominant leader by subordinating competing stems, space major branches apart by removing or shortening nearby branches, and anticipate future form and function. Train and prune early to avoid cutting large branches later, and to reduce future tree care costs.

Mature Tree Pruning

Mature Tree Pruning (Crown Cleaning) is the removal of dead, dying, diseased, interfering and weakly attached branches in the tree’s crown in order to enhance the tree’s health.

Pruning Shrubbery

The general rule of thumb is prune for reduction after flowering. Pruning is a skill that is developed with time, education and experience and is species-specific. Please don’t hesitate to call us and we can discuss techniques required for your plants.

Shearing Hedges

This is practiced in late spring for containment of new growth and again in late summer for dormant season tidiness.

Other Pruning Types

Restoration Pruning

Restoration Pruning is performed to improve the structure, form, and appearance of trees that have been severely headed, vandalized, or storm damaged. The intent is to reestablish apical dominance or a central leader over time. Normally this occurs over a number of successive prunings.

 Crown Reduction

Crown Reduction (Perimeter Reduction) is used to reduce the size of a tree. This practice is best accomplished by cutting branches back to the trunk or back to laterals capable of sustaining the remaining branch and assuming apical dominance.

 Crown Thinning

Crown Thinning is the removal of lateral branches with the intent to provide better air circulation and light penetration and also the reduction of excessive end weighted scaffolding branches.


Espalier is a combination of cutting and training branches that are oriented in one plane, usually supported on a wall, fence or trellis.


Pollarding is a training system that involves severe heading the first year, and sprout removal annually or every few years to keep large growing trees to a modest size or to maintain a formal appearance. The pollarding process should be started when the tree is young. Pollarding is a labor intensive technique and may not be effective on every species of tree.

 Structural Pruning

Structural Pruning is pruning that influences tree orientation, spacing, growth rate, strength of attachments and ultimate size of the branches.

 Vista Pruning

Vista Pruning is selective removal or reduction of branches in the tree’s crown to allow a specific view of an object from a predetermined point.

 What About Topping?

Topping or heading back is not recommended due to the following: it leads to tree stress, decay, sun scald, creates hazards from weakly attached shoots, and is unsightly and is expensive due to maintenance.  For more information on the harmful effects of Topping, please use the following resource at the International Society of Arboriculture website’s applicable link about Topping .

Tree Cabling and Bracing

Cable bracing is used to support structurally weak trees that are susceptible to damage from winds, storms, or even the weight of their own foliage. This support technique uses hardware to make the tree more structurally stable and help reduce the chance of tree failure. Here at BC Plant Health Care we use traditional (static) cabling techniques and progressive (dynamic) cabling techniques.

BC Plant Health Care uses two types of systems.

Static Systems (Steel cable & eye bolts drilled into tree)

This is an invasive technique that is warranted in some situations.

Dynamic Systems (Synthetic cable wrapped around tree)

This is a non-invasive technique that is warranted is some situations.

All cabling requires post installation inspection by an ISA Certified Arborist and Tree Risk Assessor.

Please call and talk to one of our Consulting Arborists.

We will be happy to pry them away from their books.

Did you also know that all of our Arborists have to become competent Climbing Arborists before they can start the process of becoming a Consulting Arborist? We believe this is critically important as it gives our consultants a respect and familiarity with trees that you cannot otherwise get and it helps them with developing practical, “real life” solutions.

CALL US AT 604-575-8727