1. How does Cliff Side Tree determine if a tree needs to be pruned or removed?

By fully assessing a tree or tree stands for health, structural integrity, architectural shape, degree of lean, amount of canopy-sail area, wind exposure, location & soil structure


2. What are some reasons to remove a tree or trees after careful consideration?

a. Hazardous trees or trees with defects that can’t be directly corrected by pruning, cabling, bracing or tree bolting; or indirectly corrected with fertilizers, soil amendments or injections.

b. A tree which is obstructing the proper growth of nearby dominant trees (usually termed an intermediate tree or suppressed tree).

c. Trees that fail to meet new site changes during the development process.


3. Why & when should my trees be pruned?

Trees in an urban setting gain greater density & size than forest trees. Lack of pruning in urban areas resultS in tree structure failures. Trees thus disfigured are susceptible to property damage or personal injury.


4. What are my options when having my tree pruned?

The American National Standard for Tree Pruning ANSI 300 Classification:

I. Class I Prune: Removal of dead, diseased or broken branches ½” or larger. This is a Fine Prune requiring work on the farthest outer limbs.

II. Class II Prune: Removal of dead/diseased/broken limbs 1” diam. or larger.

III. Class III Prune: Removal of dead/diseased/broken limbs 2” diam. or larger.

IV. Class IV Prune: Coarse pruning reserved for dead wood removal, storm damage restoration, clearance pruning, or weight reduction.


5. What types of pruning should I be aware of?

Below is The American National Standard for Tree Pruning summarized by Cliff Side Tree:

I. Canopy Thinning –The selective removal of branches to increase light & wind filtration throughout the canopy.

II. Canopy Raising – Removal of branches to provide pedestrian clearance, equaling approx. 9 ft.; & driveway clearance of 13½ ft., to accommodate oil trucks.

III. Canopy Reduction or Shaping – Decrease of height &/or spread of a tree; which varies from specie to specie.

IV. Vista Pruning – Pruning to open up a view

IV. Canopy Restoration – Corrective pruning to restore the architecture of a tree due to improper pruning.

VI. Mechanical or storm damage


6.What are cabling, bracing & tree bolting support systems?

a. Cabling – Resists hypertension & failure between two or more leads that resemble a wish-bone in a tree. Cliff Side Tree uses the highest quality materials & techniques & does not endorse the latest synthetic systems, which may cause UV degradation

b. Bracing – Systems that support trees from blow-downs due to prevailing winds or to correct a severe lean; such Crutch Supports, common in orchards, often have wonderful results.

c. Tree Bolting – Prevents the progression of radial cracks, which cause the tree to shear apart; trees with included-bark or trees with radial cracks caused by wind storms or lightning, may need tree bolting


7. What is a lightning protection system for a tree?

An installation of a Bronze Cable Grounding System to protect trees from lightning strikes. Trees in lightning prone areas &/or those within large densities of people or property, such as golf courses or hill tops in developed areas, should have this preservation/safety protection.


8. How can my trees save me money & why are they valuable?

a. Increased Real-Estate value:

The defining quality between a common urban neighborhood & the most highly desired real-estate in northeastern United States is the size, specie, placement & condition of the trees on a particular piece of property.

b. Energy Costs:

Trees can cut home heating & cooling costs significantly; surrounding trees can lower the inside home temperature as much as 25° on a hot summer day; trees with“adequate” clearance can extend the life of a roof or property from harmful UV radiation; dew & frost damage is less beneath trees; “Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% & save 20-50% in energy for heating.”– USDA Forest Service

“The planting of trees means improved water quality, resulting in less run off & erosion. This allows more recharging of the ground water supply. Wooded areas help prevent the transport of sediment & chemicals into streams.” – USDA Forest Service

c. Environmental Impacts:

I. Trees reduce storm run off

II. Trees reduce noise pollution & evening glare from auto head lights

III. Trees add aesthetic value that increases human productivity

IV. Trees reduce energy costs

V. Trees prevent UV damage to people & property

VI. Trees filter pollutants

VII. Trees have historic value by providing a symbolic link to the past, by simply living through an era associated with important events.


9. What exactly is a historical tree?

A historical tree is a tree that has gained significance by living through an era, by connecting people, places and events to the past. These trees are usually sensitive to minor changes of any kind and require special planning and care.


10. Why is my tree dead?

-- Over-pruning or improper pruning

-- Nutrient deficiencies, disease, environmental changes

-- Mechanical damage from landscaping or other machinery

-- Soil compaction, grade/drainage changes are common in construction processes.

Due to the forced artificial environment, Urban Trees are more susceptible to problems than forest trees. This is the reason skilled, tree care specialists, such as Cliff Side, are essential in maintaining the health & viability of valuable city trees

“With great regularity, large, mature historic trees are inadvertently killed during construction phases. This is evident as trees often die 3-5 years after construction is completed. Few onsite building professionals understand the damaging effects, and/or posess the skills needed to minimize harmful impacts of construction on our communities most highly prized historic trees. Make no assumptions with anyone in regards to your historic trees.” -D. Fontaine

The wasteful results of construction damage to our communities' historic trees can easily be economically avoided; Cliff Side Tree Service provides pre-, during-, & post-, tree preservation planning. If you have concerns about a tree, call Cliff Side Tree Service.


11. Included Bark

“Included Bark” is a common tree deformity that tends to allow large portions of older trees to collapse. Young trees with these defects at the nursery should be rejected. Older trees with this potentially hazardous defect can be managed safely with weight reduction pruning and cabling & bracing(if appropriate).


12. Tree Maintenance

Old growth trees are evaluated for signs of potential hazards, mushrooms in the root canopy, high degree of lean, radial cracks, cavities, upwelling of the root base, excessive die back. If the desire is to retain the old growth tree and none of the variables above exist or are within the acceptable parameters, we move toward standard safety maintenance. General maintenance pruning of old growth trees consists of dead wood pruning and removing limbs that rub and cross. This often needs to be done every 5-7 years. The byproduct of these pruning procedures is a filtration of sunlight and a greater resistance to storm damaging winds. Roof tops of structures are often ventilated better with less damaging UV rays from a prune vs. a removal.


13. Tree structural reinforcement, cabling & bracing

Tree structure reinforcement: Cabling secures 2 or more tree leads that offer the appropriate geometry, preventing hyper extension in wind storms. “Included Bark” is often the greatest reason to consider cabling tree leads. Cabling tech has jumped around a bit and I have adopted so techniques and refuted others. I don’t install the messy saddle bolts, thimbles and wraps that still exist in the market place. Dynamic synthetic systems are enticing but they just will not stand up against UV damage, leading to a much shorter lifespan. High strength galvanized steel and aircraft aluminum wire stop have proven to be reliable for me for over 25 years.

Tree bracing: Is to mitigate the shearing action between leads that have “Included Bark”. This procedure almost always follows the installation of one or more cables.

Included Bark