Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tree Trimming for Healthy Reasons

Some people might be surprised to hear that I would ever cut a tree. In a woodland area such as where I live, however, the canopy gets thicker and thicker as time goes on. Smaller plants lose the sunshine that they need to thrive. I’ve lived in this place for 12 years now and this week I had trees trimmed for the third time.

Tree trimming for me includes selective tree removal as well as pruning large limbs. I always carefully identify my trees when deciding which ones are candidates for removal or trimming. My area has a lot of loblolly pines, red maples, and tuliptrees (Liriodendron tulipifera).  When removing trees to improve the light conditions, these are the trees I consider first because there will always be plenty of them left.

This year the focus was on a very large loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) next to the driveway. That area had lost a lot of light in the last 12 years and shrubs and perennials that I had planted earlier were no longer able to bloom. 

With the extra light and room afforded by the pine’s removal, several small trees nearby such as a green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and a sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) will also get a chance to reach blooming size as well as those shrubs and perennials.

Shop around for a tree company with an arborist on staff and get more than one quote. I’ve got a good company locally, and they always do a great job (Engram’s Tree Service, Canton, GA). They work carefully to avoid damage to other plants, and they always clean up the area afterwards.  

They always offer to also remove some of my snags (dead trees) and chip up my brush piles. The answer is always no – dead trees and brush piles provide very important services to wildlife.

Here you can see how much light can now reach the ground here. There are still plenty of trees left, including pines! I'll probably add a few Christmas ferns (Polystichum acrostichoides) in the area. While I have plenty of ferns in the back, there have never been any here.

While I’m sorry to have to remove any native plants, sometimes it’s necessary to keep the area healthy for all the plants. Now I’m all set for another 5 years or so.


  1. I had a VERY large healthy live oak tree removed this winter. Too much shade meant not enough light on vegetable garden. Hopefully will have enough sun for tomato plants this year. Also removed some large limbs to add more light for native plant garden. Money well spent. The yard is now brighter and sunnier for plants to grow better.

  2. I'm so glad you wrote this post because I often have a really hard time taking out anything native that is alive. Looking at the bigger picture and the benefits to the local ecosystem will help me do this. Often in our woods trees grow too close together and neither will thrive if one doesn't come out.