3 Tree Pruning Guidelines That Pros Follow

3 Tree Pruning Guidelines That Pros Follow

3 Tree Pruning Guidelines That Pros Follow

Do you need tree trimming in Philadelphia? Caring for your trees increases property value, improves tree health, and encourages the growth of new, healthier branches.

Unpruned trees risk growing into power lines and developing weak branches. Learning the proper methods for trimming trees requires the help of tree experts. 

Expert tree pruning guidelines ensure your trees grow healthy branches and thrive for many years. Special equipment and techniques used by professional tree services remove weak and dying branches without reducing your trees’ lifespan.

Keep reading to learn the tree pruning guidelines employed by professional tree services. 

What Is Tree Pruning? 

Tree pruning refers to selectively removing branches from overgrown trees. Directional pruning removes weaker branches to increase the nutrients supplied to healthy branches. Weak and dying branches pose safety risks to your trees and the surrounding environment.

Untrimmed trees pose the following problems: 

  • Tree branches entwined in power lines 
  • Fallen branches
  • Poor soil health 
  • Insect infestations 
  • Rooftop moss growth 

Trees should receive pruning and trimming services once a year. Even if your trees don’t require extensive trimming, professional tree services can help customers understand their trees’ health and care for them all year long.

Contact local tree experts for trimming and pruning services in the late winter or spring when trees emerge from dormancy. 

3 Tree Pruning Guidelines Used by Professionals

Proper pruning cuts involve removing branches directly before the branch collar. The branch collar rests between the trunk and the dead branch of a tree. Invasive cuts into the stump damage trees, while stumps left behind develop cavities and rot.

The most common corrective prunings involve the following techniques: 

Crown Thinning 

Crown thinning techniques involve maximizing the amount of light and air reaching a tree’s canopy. Epicormic sprouts and small branch growth can obstruct light and air from reaching the tree trunk. Professional tree services remove no more than a quarter of the tree’s canopy to preserve the shape and health of the tree. 

Tree experts preserve strong U-shaped branches and remove weak V-shaped lateral branches. Included bark, or inwardly rolled bark weakening attachments between branches, can form between V-shaped branches if not pruned correctly. Tree pruning guidelines for crown thinning also recommend removing branches that overlap or cross one another. 

Crown Raising 

Crown raising refers to removing broken or weak branches growing from the bottom of the tree’s crown. Tree trimming experts utilize crown-raising techniques to clear tree branches from power lines, buildings, and walkways. If overhanging tree branches prevent light from reaching your roof, moss may develop on rooftops. 

Contact Mercado’s Landscaping and Tree Service for help crown raising your trees. Our experts utilize specialized equipment and techniques to protect your trees and property from damage. 

Crown Reduction 

Crown reduction remains the last resort for trees growing too large for their space. Tree experts carefully remove broken branches and lateral branches no less than one-third the diameter of the union branches. 

Crown reduction techniques prove more effective than tree-topping, an outdated approach that leaves trees susceptible to decay, rot, and harsh weather conditions.

To discover the tree trimming techniques best suited for your trees, contact Mercado’s Landscaping and Tree Service today! 

Trust Mercado’s Landscaping and Tree Service LLC for All Your Tree Pruning Needs

Mercado’s Landscaping and Tree Service LLC provides reliable tree services in Philadelphia, PA. Our experts follow strict tree pruning guidelines and work tirelessly to help our customer’s trees thrive.

To learn about reasonable pricing for tree trimming and our other services, contact us today. Call Mercado’s Landscaping and Tree Service LLC at (215) 764-5509 to receive your free quote! 

What Is a Reasonable Price for Tree Trimming?

What Is a Reasonable Price for Tree Trimming?

Our trees provide us with many benefits, and as with everything else on our property, they require the proper care and maintenance. Tree services like trimming will not only prevent potential issues from arising but can also boost a home’s visual appeal. 

Many homeowners ask, “What is a reasonable price for tree trimming?” The average cost ranges from $315 to $700, with $475 being the most common cost. 

However, factors like a tree’s size can impact the total cost. For example, trees 30 feet or smaller may only call for $75, while tall trees can cost $1200 or more. We’ll dive into what factors affect trimming prices and why to call Philadelphia’s top-rated trimmers

Factors That Can Impact Tree Trimming Costs

Various factors can impact tree trimming costs which we will now explore. 

Tree Inspections

Most arborists recommend you receive a tree inspection at least once a year. A tree inspection will evaluate your tree’s overall health by looking at elements such as: 

  • Its bark 
  • Its branches
  • Its overall structure
  • The soil surrounding the tree

This inspection can determine if your tree has any diseases or infections, gets enough water, etc. While very important, tree inspections typically add up to $150. 

The Type of Tree

Alongside size, the type of tree can also affect total trimming costs. For example, multi-trunk trees require greater care, and wood like maple is more difficult to trim. 

The Tree’s Location 

Trees sitting in an open space will be much easier to trim than those surrounded by objects. One major factor is whether your tree sits close to power lines. 

When power lines are present, an arborist needs to take extra measures. Falling branches hitting power lines proves a huge safety hazard and may require additional equipment and time. These additions will impact your bill in the end. 

Your Tree’s Health 

A tree’s health can significantly impact its overall stability. For example, a damaged or dead tree is more susceptible to lightning strikes, extreme weather, pest infestations, diseases, etc. 

These factors can put your tree trimmer’s safety at risk, requiring them to employ additional precautions and raise your bill. 

The presence of pests can also influence the cost, as a tree hosting ants or woodpeckers is more likely to rot on the inside. Besides being unpleasant, pests also impact your tree’s stability. 

The Number of Trees

Of course, the more trees you schedule for trimming, the higher your bill will be. However, when asking, “What is a reasonable price for tree trimming?” it’s important to note that many tree trimming services offer discounts for multiple trees. 

While your bill might be more expensive initially, you can save in the long run if you decide to trim multiple trees in a single session. 

If You Need Additional Treatments 

Tree trimming typically serves as just the first step for most homeowners, and chances increase that they’ll require additional services. One cost you can expect stems from having to haul away any trimmed branches. This process will translate into an extra charge when handled by a professional. 

Other additional treatments might include: 

  • Tree pruning
  • Pest control 
  • Soil remediation 
  • Fertilization 

Occasionally, an arborist might recommend you remove a tree altogether. Although most services only recommend this option as a last resort, tree removal is sometimes the correct route. 

Call Mercados Landscaping and Tree Service Today 

Many factors can influence the total cost of trimming your trees. Mercados Landscaping and Tree Service is the name to call to receive reasonable prices and top-notch service. 

To discover “What is a reasonable price for tree trimming?” and the difference between landscapers and arborists, call Mercados Landscaping and Tree Service at (215) 764-5509

Who Is Responsible for a Tree Touching a Power Line?

Who Is Responsible for a Tree Touching a Power Line?

A tree touching a power line or being very close to touching one is hazardous. One gust of wind in the wrong direction could wrench the branch and disconnect the cable. 

To avoid this issue, the tree limbs must be at least 15 feet away from overhead power lines. A  meticulous tree trimming service in Philadelphia is your best bet at eliminating the risk. 

The question then becomes who’s responsible for paying. The short answer is that it depends on who owns the land that the tree is on. In this article, the Mercados Landscaping and Tree Service team answers this question in more detail. 

When You Own the Land, the Tree Is On

If the tree is on your land, you must trim it so it doesn’t affect the neighborhood power lines. It’s advisable to get professional assistance here as you could risk accidentally nipping the lines. 

You’re also responsible for trimming branches that affect service cords leading from the street into your yard. 

When the Tree Is on Public Land

When the tree is on public land, the National Electrical Safety Code places the responsibility for trimming the trees on utility companies. They typically send line-clearing crews every six to 12 months. However, if you notice a potential issue, you can report it to them so that they send out an inspector. 

What if the Tree Is Partially on Your Land? 

If the tree crosses your property boundary but is primarily on public land, the utility company must pay to clear the power lines. 

What Are the Dangers? 

Why is a tree touching a power line so dangerous? The branches could damage the insulation of the power lines or snap them off completely. Both situations are hazardous because you have live, high-voltage power running unchecked.

There are three risks with a damaged cord: 

  1. It could break free, whipping around and electrocuting anything with which it comes into contact. This is the best-case scenario, as it’s immediately apparent that there is an issue. 
  2. The wires may seem intact from the ground but still allow current to flow into the tree branch, down the trunk, and into the ground. The electricity will transfer to anyone or anything that subsequently touches the tree.
  3. A tall tree could be blown over in the wind, pulling the cables and the heavy poles with it.  

How Much Clearance Is Necessary? 

The lines need a clearance of at least ten to 15 feet around. The reason for this distance is that power lines may sag in warm weather during peak times due to a high load. The cables thus become longer and arch closer to the ground while also being more likely to sway. 

It takes just one gust of wind to blow a wayward tree branch into the wrong place. 

Do You Have a Say in the Cutting of Your Trees? 

Where your tree’s branches extend over public property, the utility company may cut them to achieve the proper clearance. The firm will typically send an inspector around to notify you that they will do so. 

However, if the company can reach the requisite branches to trim them, they may go ahead without your permission due to the hazard. Since this might damage the tree, it may be a good reason to take care of it yourself. 

Get Expert Advice

It’s essential to stop a tree touching a power line. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this without killing the tree. Learn about how an arborist can help you by calling Mercados Landscaping and Tree Service at (215) 764-5509

What Are the Correct Types of Tree Trimming Methods?

What Are the Correct Types of Tree Trimming Methods?

The most important thing to know about tree trimming is that it has significant benefits for your trees, including keeping them healthy and strong. These different types of tree trimming are essential for property owners to know to avoid causing damage due to branch failure.

Below, we cover the different pruning techniques as advised by tree trimming professionals in Philadelphia to keep homeowners in the know.

What Are the Different Types of Tree Trimming?

Overall, there are two main types of tree trimming: corrective trimming and developmental trimming.

Corrective pruning is vital for the removal of diseased or dead branches to prevent the spread of further damage throughout the tree. In contrast, arborists carry out developmental trimming on young trees to encourage them to grow in certain directions or towards light sources.

You can perform both types of tree trimming at any time during the year as long as they do not interfere with flowering or fruit-bearing cycles.

Four Specific Types of Tree Trimming Techniques

Crown Clearing

Crown cleaning helps your trees stay healthy and strong. It removes dead, diseased, or damaged branches, helping mature trees get more light and air circulation throughout their crowns.

When you crown clean a tree, you’ll want to remove at least one-third of its branches. Removing branches from the bottom of the trunk up to about three feet from the ground is crucial to ensure that the remaining limbs are properly balanced.

Crown Raising

Crown raising removes the lower lateral branches to provide clearance for pedestrians, vehicles, and nearby structures. This practice also improves lines of sight and safety around your home or business. In addition, it increases the sunlight that reaches your lawn and garden.

Crown raising is particularly useful in protecting property from falling limbs and branches. These hazards can cause damage to cars and homes, so removing any low-hanging branches that could potentially fall on top of them is vital.

Crown Reduction

The goal of crown reduction is to make the tree more manageable by creating more space between branches and leaves. It also helps with sun exposure, improving the tree’s health and growth.

Crown reduction occurs in two ways: removing branches in small specific sections or lopping off entire sections at once. The latter method is more drastic but less expensive because fewer materials are involved in its execution.


Pollarding is a technique that trims trees without killing them. The process involves the removal of branches so that all that remains is a framework of secondary branches along the main stem.

You should start pollarding when your trees are still young and continue regularly as they grow. This trimming provides a constant supply of small diameter poles without killing your tree.

Pollarded trees are ideal for fencing, hedging, or firewood. They also last longer than with other methods because there are fewer weak points where rot can set in.

The benefits of pollarding include:

  • You never have to worry about your tree growing too large or taking up too much space in your yard.
  • It allows you to harvest poles for various uses, including firewood, fencing, and building materials.

At Mercado’s Landscaping and Tree Service, we offer various services to help you maintain the health of your trees and lawn. We commit to providing high-quality services at affordable rates. We are also passionate about helping North East Philadelphia homeowners understand everything about tree care (read our informative short guide to understanding arborists to learn more).

Contact us at (215) 764-5509 to schedule a free assessment for the multiple types of tree trimming discussed above.

Scratch Test on Trees: Does It Work?

Scratch Test on Trees: Does It Work?

Spring is the perfect time to test your trees for strength. One way to do this is by doing a scratch test on a tree. However, some people don’t know what a tree scratch test is or if it works.

Let’s look at scratch test basics and how you can use them to test your trees’ strength.

What Is a Scratch Test?

A scratch test is simply taking your fingernail or a key and scratching the bark of your tree to get to the cambium layer.

The tree is solid if you can’t easily scratch the bark. If the bark is loose, it’s a sign that the tree is weak. If the bark is tight, it means the tree is strong.

You may see a brown or white substance on the bark after you scratch it. This substance is sap, meaning the tree is still alive. It’s the tree’s way of healing itself.

Does the Scratch Test Work?

The tree scratch test is a quick and easy way to test the strength of your trees, but it’s not foolproof. There are a few things that can affect the results of the test.

For example, if the tree is young, the bark may be thin and not as strong as an older tree. Additionally, if the tree is sick or damaged, it may not be as strong as a healthy tree.

While the scratch test is an excellent way to test the strength of your trees, it’s not the only way to see if a tree is dead. If you’re concerned about your trees, you should also contact tree trimming experts in Philadelphia.

Why Is it Called a Scratch Test?

The scratch test gets its name because you’re scratching the bark of your tree. This method is a way to see if the bark is loose or tight without damaging the tree.

The test is quick and easy to do and can give you a good idea of the strength of your tree.

Things to Avoid When Doing the Scratch Test

You don’t want to damage your tree when doing the scratch test on trees. Here are a few things to avoid:

  • Using a sharp object to scratch the bark. 
  • Scratching too hard. You should only scratch the surface of the bark, not dig into it.
  • Using the test on already damaged or sick trees. 

Berry Plants & Vines

The scratch test on a tree can also work well on berry plants and vines; just scratch the plant’s bark to see if it’s loose or tight. If the bark is tight, the plant is strong. The plant is weak if the bark is loose or you see dead branches.

If the plant has dead or dying leaves or branches, it’s likely sick. It may weaken if the plant is slow to sprout leaves in the spring. If animals have chewed on the plant, it may suffer damage. 

The tree scratch test is a helpful way to determine the toughness of your plants, but it isn’t the only method. If you’re concerned about your plants’ strength, you should consult with experts.


Although performing a scratch test on trees is not a definitive way to determine the health of your trees, it can be a helpful tool for identifying potential problems. You can also learn more about how arborists can help strengthen your trees.

If you have any concerns about your tree’s health, don’t hesitate to call Mercados Landscaping at (215) 764-5509 for an evaluation. We would be happy to help you keep your landscape in Philadelphia, PA, looking beautiful and healthy all year round!

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