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Proper pruning during the life span of a tree is important to sustain good health. However, pruning trees when they are younger reduces the amount of large limb removal as they mature. Pruning large branches on mature trees leave large wounds, increasing the tree’s vulnerability to disease and infestation. The larger the wound, the larger the surface for the introduction of disease to the tree. The smaller the wound, the faster the wound will seal and ward off infection.

A Certified Arborist will ask several questions before pruning younger trees. What is the objective? What is the reason the tree was planted in a particular spot in the first place? Was it for providing shade, noise reduction, and/or wind block? Or was it planted for fruit production, increase property value, prevent soil erosion, or improve mental or physical health in recovery? Or is the reason environmental? These questions should be addressed with property owners prior to the pruning process and communicated to the person doing the actual pruning.

Here are three major reasons trees are typically pruned:

  • HEALTH: Sanitation. Removal of dead, diseased and damaged limbs. Thinning- improve penetration of light and air.
  • APPEARANCE: Shape for aesthetic purposes, natural form and growth habit.
  • SAFETY OF PROPERTY AND PEOPLE: Storm damaged limbs, hangers or widowmakers, raising over walkways, parking, clearing lighting and cameras.

Once the reason the tree was planted is established, the arborist can approach the pruning process of a younger tree with this in mind. Pruning may proceed with first removing dead or damaged limbs, and/or cross or competing limbs. The amount of pruning and/or if to prune will be determined by the density and health of the canopy. The arborist may recommend waiting another season or two for the canopy and root system to further establish. He/she will also take care not to over prune to prevent sun scorch or deprive the tree of much needed sugars through photosynthesis.

Your arborist can advise you on the best time to start and how much pruning your young trees need to thrive and become beautiful, healthy mature trees. First Choice has five experienced Certified Arborists on staff ready to answer all of your pruning questions.


Written by Mike Cooper & Veronica Leary
Photo by UMAINE Extension



Structural pruning is a must for landscape trees, particularly trees growing near buildings, parking areas, streets and walkways. The conditions in which a landscape tree grows is innately different from those in forests. Trees growing in forests develop a strong central stem with more proportionate branches. Outside of its natural environment, the crown of a landscape tree can flourish with lower, larger branches and many more limbs than their forest counterparts because they receive an abundance of sunlight, leaving landscape trees more prone to develop structural defects.

This can ultimately lead to breakage of branches and limbs, and even overall tree failure.  It’s especially important to give special attention to trees that expose a safety hazard to people or property. Larger trees with weak structures are most vulnerable and are the first to fall in even mild weather events.

Weak tree structure can be prevented. It starts by making proper cuts to younger trees to help guide your tree to grow stronger and increase the tree’s prospects for a long and healthy life. More established trees also benefit from proper pruning. Proper structural pruning is an easy way to avoid future, larger issues with your landscape trees. For more information, call us to schedule an appointment with one of our certified arborists.



Proper tree care is so important to the life of trees. Without regular maintenance, such as pruning, fertilization and adequate watering, the lifespan of a tree can be cut significantly. Improperly cared for or neglected trees are susceptible to disease and insect infestation, which can cause a decline in the health of a tree. Trees with heavy canopies due to lack of pruning or weakened by neglect are at a greater risk of broken branches or falling in severe weather events, creating safety hazards.

Improper care or neglect of trees can ultimately result in the removal of the trees. Case in point; the trees pictured had not been maintained over the years. Note the dramatic difference in the health of the trees pictured in 2009, and same trees 10 years later in 2019. The cost of removing these trees is well into the thousands, not including the loss in property values.

Many homeowners think they are saving money by not properly maintaining their trees. However, the beauty, health and safety of your trees rely on regular tree care. Beautiful, well cared for trees are healthier, live longer, are more attractive and add value to your home for many years to come.

It’s Never Too Soon To Think About Your Pruning Needs

It’s Never Too Soon To Think About Your Pruning Needs

Cooler weather will be upon us soon! It is best to prune thin bark trees, such as plum, pear and Raywood Ash trees in the fall and winter months when the leaves have dropped and it is easier to see the structure of the tree, allowing you to prune only what is necessary. Winter is considered the dormant season for deciduous trees. Pruning during this time will maintain the trees energy reserves that encourage new growth and allow your trees to be invigorated. Winter is also the optimal time to trim pine trees to reduce mess from running sap and to allow cuts to heal properly.

Let our ISA Certified Arborists take a look at your trees to determine the type of pruning needed to help you protect your most valued landscape investment—your trees. Call us for all your fall and winter pruning needs at 702-564-1998

Do Your Trees Have Canker Disease?

Do Your Trees Have Canker Disease?

This tree has canker disease. Sooty canker is a tree disease that afflicts trees in warm, dry climates, such as Las Vegas. This incurable fungal disease causes lesions in the bark of trees, mostly in the branches but can also be present in the trunk. Tree sap forms into hard balls that will stretch the bark causing it to burst. Once the bark bursts, the tree is exposed and is vulnerable to other pest infestations and diseases. Other signs of Canker disease are: 

  • Brown leaves
  • Wilted leaves
  • Smaller than normal leaves
  • Appearance of “soot” on the branches
  • Cracking or peeling bark 

Improper pruning techniques can also leave your trees at risk to attract the disease. Prevention is the best course of treatment. Proper tree care, such as regular pruning, fertilization and adequate watering will keep your trees healthy and is less likely to attract these types of diseases. If your trees exhibit any of these warning signs or do not look their healthiest, contact our office to have one of certified arborist assess the health of your trees.

Don’t Mix the Apples and Oranges!

Don’t Mix the Apples and Oranges!

We often receive requests for proposals from community managers of local homeowner’s associations (HOA), however the scopes of work included are not well articulated. A scope of work is a clearly defined outline of specific project goals, guidelines, tasks, costs, and deadlines for the performing party to achieve the end-product the community manager, HOA is looking for.

When a scope of work is not clearly defined, you typically will receive a mixed basket of proposals with things that were never asked for, leaving board members of HOAs to make decisions on proposals that are not “apples to apples.” Below are actual scopes that didn’t include additional scope information and/or that are not clearly defined.

Typical, vague, incomplete scopes of work received from HOA community managers:

  • Trim all trees on the property;
  • Clear all trees from the buildings;
  • Need a bid to remove trees and trim;
  • Trim palms.



  • Break it up – don’t scope in what you don’t know, the contractor won’t know either.
  • Keep it simple – make it easy to understand.
  • Make assumptions – act like this is their first time proposing, even if they already know.
  • Put into context – explain what you’re doing.
  • Be specific – set clear boundaries and guidelines with specific benchmarks that you want them to hit. For example: how many feet of clearance from the building, grind 12 inches below the surface, trim 20 percent of all the foliage, etc.
  • List the standards – the contractor should know the standards of the bidding such as “ANSI A300 Pruning standards” and that it will be enforced.
  • Qualify your vendor – ask for copies of their insurance, certifications and safety program to be submitted with their proposals. Without these documents the HOA is ultimately accepting all the risk.

By – Eddie Rodriguez

Make sure that you’re getting apples to apples bids. This will allow for less confusion, smoother project completion, and allows your chosen vendor to meet your expectations.