Do You Suffer from Arborphobia?

by Sylvia Jonathan on May 28, 2014

Arborphobia Pruning results in a “bad haircut” appearance as new growth spurts out nilly-willy

Do You Suffer from Arborphobia?

Arborphobics are people who are afraid a tree is too big. Why do they think that? Maybe because a man with a business card and a power tool told them their tree needed trimming? Maybe because they see their City sending out trucks in droves to top crowns of trees, and the City “always knows” what needs to be done? Urban dwellers, including city managers and HOA boards, have been conditioned by tree trimmers to not let a tree go beyond a certain height. Why would a guy with a power tool tell you to “top” your tree? Because he knows you are going to need him again next year. In the case of a city government, it’s a lifetime contract. Why? Let me share a quote from a very knowledgeable pruning expert, Cass Turnbull in Guide to Pruning:

“Dropcrotching is unsuccessful as an overall size control measure. After a young healthy tree is pruned back, it increases its rate of growth. The remaining limbs elongate rapidly and very soon the tree is the size it was before. A tree that took five years to grow five feet taller will now grow five feet in a single year.”

A tree is programmed genetically to grow to a certain height. If you don’t want a 30 foot tree, don’t plant one that wants to grow to 30 feet!

Why would a Realtor be concerned with trees? Because buyers view “tree problems” on a listed property very seriously! They wonder about the roots, height, how often they need to trim trees on the property.

Why would you want to know about trees and proper pruning even though you never plan to go up on a ladder with a chain saw? Because the next time a guy with a business card and a power tool shows up at your door telling you your tree needs “reducing” or “crowning”, you need to be informed about the ultimate agenda of this individual (perpetual ongoing business) and the damage you could inflict on your trees.

This wisdom has come hard-earned to me, after a couple thousand dollars of pruning an ever-growing pepper tree over several years. And if you sit on the board of an HOA, learn to ask the right questions.


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