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Serving the Lake Area  |  573-347-3330

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Prune for strength

You can prune your trees for strength by removing the following:


  • Rubbing branches

  • Injured, diseased, and dead branches

  • Co-dominant leaders or multiple trunks to encourage growth of one main trunk

Contact us for quality tree service.


Proper Pruning Keeps Your Trees at Maximum Health

Pruning your tree limbs on a regular basis helps improve tree health, control growth, and enhance future fruiting, flowering, and appearance. Colt Tree Service LLC will provide your trees with the proper pruning to reduce the weight, open a view, or clear it from structures.


Proper pruning reduces the weight on the tree without taking off any significant limbs. We take care of the trees so that they're not top-heavy. When you look at the tree to be pruned, try to imagine what it will look like when it is going to be larger. Keep in mind that the limbs will increase in diameter and length, but will not move upward on the trunk as the

tree grows.

Prune for form

You can prune your trees for form by removing the following:


  • Water sprouts and root suckers

  • Limbs that turn inward, cross, or extend

  • Excess lateral branches to produce a ladder effect at maturity

Tree lifting

Lifting trees is a common pruning practice where the lower branches are removed to provide clearance for vehicles, structures, or improving your view of the lake. Over-lifting, the excessive thinning of branches, is a poor pruning practice. It can cause the trees to become top-heavy, reduce trunk taper, and increase the chance of branch breakage. It can also disfigure the natural form of the tree.

Topping and excessive lifting

Topping is one of the most harmful tree pruning practices. Despite over 25 years of literature and seminars explaining its harmful effects, it remains a common practice. Topping is not an acceptable pruning technique, as there are better alternatives available.


Topping is the indiscriminate cutting back of tree branches to stubs, or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other terms include 'heading', 'tipping', 'hat-racking', and 'rounding over'


The most common reason for topping is to reduce the size of a tree. Homeowners often feel that their trees have become too large for their property, and fear that the tall trees may pose a hazard. However, topping is not a viable method of height reduction, and it certainly does not reduce the hazard. It can actually make it more hazardous in the

long term.

Topping branch trimming

There are certain times when a tree must be reduced in height or spread. Providing clearance for utility lines is a common example. We have recommended certain techniques for doing this.


If practical, the branches should be removed back to their point of origin. If a branch must be shortened, it should be cut back to a lateral that is large enough to assume the terminal role. It is a common rule to cut back to a lateral that is at least 1/3 the diameter of the limb being removed. This method of branch reduction helps to preserve the natural form of the tree. However, if large cuts are involved, the tree may not be able to compartmentalize the wounds. Sometimes, the best solution would be to remove the tree and replace it with a species that is more appropriate for the site.

Our climbers are highly skilled to work on trees that can’t be reached by aerial devices due to location, soft ground, lateral fields, permanent structures, steep grades, or other obstacles. We will not use spikes to climb any tree, as it is extremely harmful. We will use ropes and ladders to safely ascend the canopy to protect the longevity of the tree.


Crown reduction

Crown reduction is a viable alternative to topping, as some species of trees can outgrow their environment and become hazardous. Proper crown reduction must be done through proper and sufficient lateral cuts in order to reduce overgrowth and to maintain the natural shape of the tree as much as possible.

Proper prunning principles Proper prunning principles

Proper tree selection

Before selecting trees to plant on your property, make sure you consider the following factors:

  • Why is the tree being planted? Do you want the tree to provide shade, fruit, seasonal color, or act as a windbreak or screen? Maybe you want more than one of those functions?

  • What is the size and location of the planting site? Does the space lend itself to a small, medium, or large tree? Are there overhead or below ground wires or utilities in the vicinity? Do you need to consider clearance for sidewalks, patios, or driveways? Do you have other trees in the area?

  • What type of soil conditions exist? Is the soil deep, fertile, and well drained, or is it shallow, compacted and infertile?

  • What type of maintenance are you willing to provide? Do you have time to water, fertilize, and prune the newly planted tree until it is established, or will you be relying on your garden or tree service for assistance?

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