Two young landscapers arrive at a residence and make decent cash by pruning cedar hedges. We have all been there. Living the dream, making extra cash on weekends. Then the owner asks them to prune her Acer palmatum away from the house and below the gutters. Then mistakes happen. First examine pictures of the FINAL product and then consider the many mistakes that were made.


Owner’s request: bring the tree crown below gutters


Brutal chainsaw cuts


Huge stubs that will die off, potentially invite disease in and give the tree zero chance of healing the wound


Let us consider the mistakes that were made.

1) Agreeing to top a tree

The crown could be reduced but topping is not done for several reasons. Educate your clients!

2) Starving and stressing the tree

In drought conditions, leaf openings (stomates) are closed to prevent water loss. That also means that CO2 can not enter and therefore food production stops. Now the tree is forced to use up food reserves stored in younger branches. The same branches that are likely to be pruned off.

3) Bad cuts

The chainsaw work is inadequate and the stubs amateurish. We have seen in an earlier blog how to make a nice cut, one the tree can cover over and heal.
The stubs die off, can invite disease in, and the tree has no hope of covering the wound.

4) Failure to wear protective gear

Chainsaw work can be dangerous so protection is mandatory; the same goes for high-visibility clothing since the workers repeatedly crossed the road to assess their work. Work which did not get completed.

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