In the Asheville area it is common that homeowners request the services of a Certified Arborist to vista prune trees in order to improve their view of the ridgelines and valleys. There are different techniques that are used when vista pruning; reduction pruning, selectively thinning interior growth, canopy elevation, and tree removal. The technique used is determined by the location of the view point (i.e. deck, window, etc) and the canopy of the tree obstructing the desired view. Our Certified arborist can determine which technique will best suit your needs.

Reduction pruning consists of pruning to shorten a portion of the tree, effectively opening up views around the trees. Reduction pruning works especially well when part of the canopy is blocking the desired view. 

Selectively thinning a tree is a common pruning practice that improves light and air flow throughout the canopy, and can also be used when vista pruning to open windows of views through the canopy. This is common when the entire canopy is obstructing the desired view, or when homeowners are looking to improve their views without removing trees which can add both visual appeal, and privacy to their property.   

Canopy elevation is a technique used when the majority of the tree canopy is above the obstructed view. This consists of removing low limbs to open up the view, leaving the trunk in the view which can create a sense of depth from the view point. 

If you live within the Asheville city limits at an elevation above 2,220ft, and the land has an average natural slope of 15% or more, you fall into the “steep slope area” category. Steep slope areas have restrictions that dictate the pruning and removal of trees. These ordinances were put in place to protect our ridgelines and reduce the risk of environmental hazards such as mudslides. Pruning for the sake of an improved view is highly regulated in these areas. 

To prune or remove and prune trees in a steep slope area, a permit must be submitted, and approved by the city. If tree work takes place without a permit the homeowner may incur fines from the city. For every removal that takes place in a steep slope area, a replacement tree (determined by the city) must be planted. Our Certified Arborists will work within the restraints of the ordinance to achieve an outcome that will meet your needs.

Most healthy trees can be vista pruned year-round depending on the amount being removed, however the dormant season/winter months are the best as it allows the arborist to more easily see the true structure of the tree as well as the desired view.  A higher percentage of canopy can be safely removed during the dormant period as well.  We recommend vista pruning every two years or so, but some properties may need it more frequently in order to maintain those desirable views while others will go longer. We can inform you on the frequency at your home.