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Tree Thinning

At Ravenna Arborists special care is taken when pruning trees. Our goal is to prune each tree for maximum health and aesthetic beauty. 



Pruning is standard for most trees. Deadwood and large crossing branches are removed while simultaneously thinning the tree evenly to create an aesthetically pleasing overall shape.

Why thin your tree?

In the forest when a large tree such as a Douglas Fir grows it seldom faces the same challenges it would in the city.

A tree growing in the forest will start as a sapling on the forest floor. There it will take advantage of an opening in the forest canopy and grow quickly to the top, shedding unnecessary branches along the way. When it reaches maturity it will have foliage only on the upper third of its body. Sheltered by the other large trees in the forest it will face little risk of being blown over in a storm.

This same large Douglas Fir planted in an urban area will be full of large branches that may grow near homes and into power lines. Unlike in a forest where it would compete for light, this tree receives light from all sides, not to mention plenty of water. The result is an explosion of uncontrolled growth resulting in a crowded, thick tree with large and dangerous deadwood.

How does Ravenna Arborists thin your tree?

Ravenna Arborists will climb the tree to the top. Tie in, and methodically and evenly thin the tree out from top to bottom, removing all deadwood and major crossing branches, as well as lightening up the remaining heavy branches. This lightening is achieved by carefully removing select lateral braches from the main branch. Finally, any branches interfering with power lines or touching the house are removed.

Fine Pruning

Mostly aesthetic, fine pruning refers to the special care taken to prune valuable specimen trees: japenese maples, magnolias, rhododendrons, dogwood, katsuras etc. The same principles of thinning and deawooding are applied, but extra care is taken to maximize the beauty of the tree. Here is where we break out the handsnips!

View Pruning

Missing that view of Mt. Rainier you used to have? We understand. View pruning is the selective removal of branches or reduction in height of a tree to regain lost and valuable views. Puget Sound, the cascade mountains, space needle, etc. While this sometimes involves the reduction of tree, care is taken to minimize stress or damage to the tree.

Canopy Restoration

In the past, the dominant theory in tree pruning was one of man made control. A large or unruly tree, if not removed entirely, was simply topped or sheared back arbitrarily to an imaginary line.

Sadly this continues in some places to this very day. As a result of these practices many mal pruned and misshapen trees can be found today. A few particularly problematic effects of “topping” trees are multiple tops, and abnormally large lower branches. This happens because when a tree loses it’s top it will send up multiple sprouts from the topping cut.

These sprouts will then compete for control of the canopy. They are weakly attached and always become crowded. Lower braches will grow larger in an attempt to compensate for the loss of the large mass of the tree top. After several years the result is a large, thick, often dangerous tree.

How does Ravenna Arborists repair the tree canopy?

As with a standard thinning and deadwooding, an arborist will ascend the tree to it highest point. There a tie in will be established. Once again the tree is thinned evenly and deadwood is removed.

However, the arborist has a few extra responsibilities this time. He must select the best “sprouts” at the top to become the new canopy of the tree. The other crowding or damaged tops are removed. Secondly, the remaining large lower branches are thinned to relieve the extra weight they have accrued as a result of overgrowth.

Canopy restoration is a process, and often times must be repeated several times before the tree begins to look “normal” again.

Thinning For Light

The pacific northwest is one of the most beautiful and best places to live in North America. However, as we all know, it can be a gloomy place. If you feel shut in and shut out of the sunlight, this is for you. This pruning includes a standard thinning and deawooding, but emphasis is placed on thinning the tree heavily, and lifting large braches up to allow maximum light.

Wound Scribing

Sometimes a tree's bark is damaged. This can happen from an a reckless driver hitting the tree, a dog chewing off bark, or a storm ripping off branches. This leaves bark torn and battered. It is important to “scribe” the wound when this happens. This is achieved by making a clean cut around the damaged area.

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