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Trees are living artwork that decorate homeowner association common areas. They are beautiful and soothe the soul. They add immeasurably to re-sale values. But, like all living things, they're in constant need of care and attention.

Proper pruning can improve a tree's appearance and increase life expectancy and produce an artful landscape effect.

Proper pruning opens the canopy of the tree to permit more air movement and sunlight penetration. Done improperly, pruning can decrease the tree's life expectancy or even kill it. Because trees are living organisms, they can be profoundly affected by pruning practices.

The American National Standards Institute's criteria for tree pruning called "ANSI A300" was adopted in 1995. It should be followed in all pruning situations and geographic areas. Basic ANSI standards set benchmarks your tree care contractor should follow, including:

  • Making Cuts on Branches
  • Branch Size Standards
  • Pruning Objectives
  • Hazard Reduction Pruning
  • Maintenance Pruning
  • Pruning Types
  • Crown Cleaning
  • Crown Thinning
  • Crown Raising
  • Crown Reduction
  • Vista or View Pruning
  • Crown Restoration

When you contract with an arborist for tree care you want to make certain that all work is properly completed. Be sure the agreement says, "All pruning shall be done in accordance with the ANSI A300 standards for tree pruning." This means:

  1. Proper cuts will be made.
  2. Spikes won't be used to climb.
  3. Not more than 1/4 of the foliage will be removed each season.
  4. At least 1/2 of the foliage should remain evenly distributed in the lower 2/3 of the canopy.

Trees are one of a homeowner association's biggest assets and need to be treated with respect and care. Use only a trained arborist and allocate money in your reserve plan to assure that recommended pruning is completed.

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