The one thing that virtually all pruning jobs have in common is providing clearance pruning. That means trimming trees and shrubs back from walkways, driveways, or cutting them off of structures, such as the house, garage, shed, etc. It is the most basic type of pruning, and is the one thing that homeowners notice more than anything else. They might disregard the interior detail of a properly pruned rosybloom crabapple that took four hours to complete, but they will definitely notice the one branch touching the roof that should have been dealt with.
Practical pruning is valuable to people because they “get it”. The other things we do to trees might be valuable for the health of the tree, but are less tangible to the folks that are paying the bill.
In a perfectly landscaped world, there wouldn’t be a need for clearance pruning because all trees and shrubs selected for various areas of the yard would be perfectly planned and placed to accommodate their mature size and shape. I don’t see this very often. If you are planning a new landscape in a new yard, take the time to research the mature sizes of the plants that you like and plan accordingly. That cute, little 6′ blue spruce tree in the middle of the front yard will one day completely dominate the landscape, overgrow the sidewalks and possibly the driveway, and block out most of the light reaching the windows on the side of the house where it was planted. Almost nobody considers this. And thankfully, this keep arborists employed.
So just because clearance pruning is basic, common, and straight-forward, doesn’t mean it should be a hack-fest. There aren’t many things as unsightly in a landscape as a straight, vertical, indiscriminately cut line of pruning along the side of a fence, house, or sidewalk. There are ways to provide clearance while still maintaining balance, form, and beauty.
(c) 2019 Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden & Tree Service Inc.