There are many reasons for pruning trees and shrubs. We live with trees every day, and it is important to manage the risk associated with daily interactions with those trees.

Pruning 101

We prune trees to keep our homes safe, the neighbors jealous, and the value of our homes increasing. We see our role in Charlotte as being good stewards of the environment. Trees are some of the mightiest structures on Earth and they deserve tender loving care (commonly referred to as TLC).

Safety Pruning

Much of our time is spent in the crowns of large trees. We are up there for a number of reasons, but primarily, we are pruning trees to reduce their chance of failure.

Using ropes and gear specifically made for climbing trees, we move around the trees, removing deadwood, broken limbs, limbs with tight angles of attachment, and reducing weight on horizontal limbs. WE DO NOT PRUNE WITH SPIKES ON!

Throw balls are used to set climbing lines in the tree. A good toss can reach heights of 80-90 feet. Climbers install friction savers from the ground, which prevents damage to bark cambium. The climber has to get as high in the tree as he can in order to have a good angle on the rest of the tree. Work positioning is key to getting the job done safely. In larger trees, our climbers might be up in the crown of a single tree for three or four hours.

Structural Pruning

A good way to ensure a healthy, strong crown is to prune a tree when it is young. Young tree pruning corrects co-dominant leaders, weak angles of branch attachment, and gives a tree a much better chance of surviving a storm event later on in its life. 

Garden Pruning

We prune for the aesthetics of your ornamental trees and shrubs. Ask about spending a 1/2 day with one of our Board Certified Master Arborists, where you'll be able to learn the art and science of pruning in the garden.

Maintenance Pruning

Maintenance pruning is needed when trees are too close to houses, drooping over parking spaces, or have limbs too low to walk under. This type of pruning is done on a two to three year cycle.

Getting ample roof clearance without making the tree look like it was butchered is tough to do, but pruning back to laterals of sufficient size keeps a natural appearance to the tree. Roof Clearance is attained, and this pruning should last a few years. This expense could have been avoided, if the right tree were in this place. A River Birch is not a good choice for a foundation tree. They grow very quickly and have a spreading crown.

Heartwood Tree Service has always done an excellent job on all our trees large and small. They are extremely knowledgeable and experienced. The workers did an excellent job cleaning up after the work was complete. One year we saved a little money using someone else. Big mistake, we got what we paid for!

James K.

Crapemyrtle Pruning

There is more than one way to prune a Crapemyrtle. There is only one way to skin a cat.

There is more than one way to prune a Crapemyrtle. There is only one way to skin a cat. There is a lot of confusion out there about how to deal with Crapemyrtles. As Crapemyrtles grow, they get thick in the middle and have crossing limbs and deadwood. Here, our Arborists get up into the crown of a large Natchez Crapemyrtle to thin it out. Another method of pruning Crapemyrtles is called "pollarding". To start a pollard, the uppermost limbs in the Crapemyrtle need to be "headed" back to form the permanent shape of the crown. This is an important step in the formation of the pollard because if it's not done correctly, it will show for years to come.


Here are a few of the basics:

  • Crapemyrtle pruning should be done when the plant is most dormant. We do most pruning in January or February.
  • Crapemyrtles can be pruned in two ways - thinning and lifting, or heading back to form a pollard.
  • Thinning - Removing interior crossing limbs and deadwood.
  • Pollard - An approved pruning method that requires new growth to be removed yearly back to old pruning cuts, forming swollen "knuckles" that retain energy for next year's growth.

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