Frequently Asked Questions From Portland Homeowners

Serving Families Throughout Portland & the Pacific Northwest

This is Part 2 of our FAQ blog series and it focuses on trees.


  • Makes the tree structurally stronger.
  • Maintains safety by removing dead and dying wood that is more prone to breaking and causing damage.
  • Improves the tree’s health by thinning the tree to increase light and air circulation, which directs growth to other desired areas thereby creating a hostile environment for harmful insect and disease.
  • Aesthetics-proper pruning brings out the natural form and beauty of a tree, while meeting practical needs in the landscape. Whether your goal is to provide screening from unsightly views, to reveal and emphasize a beautiful vista, or simply to maintain clearance away from buildings and walking paths.
  • Health-Proper pruning takes into account the “big picture” of a tree’s life cycle. Making the wrong cuts today can lead to problems years down the road that may never be possible to fix. On the other hand, the right cuts will ensure the development of strong, healthy and well-formed trees for years to come.

Our certified arborists have the knowledge and expertise to make informed decisions about how to maximize the value of your trees!


Generally speaking, topping is not a good solution to any problem. Once a tree is topped, meaning the main stem or stems are cut to reduce height, a number of things occur that might not be foreseen.

First, the dormant growth nodes below the cut will be triggered. This produces what is called “epicormic” growth, also commonly referred to as water sprouts or suckers.

The problem with these water sprouts is that they do not have a strong union compared to a branch that formed naturally.

This means that the new growth develops into large, heavy branches that are weakly attached and prone to breaking during inclement weather or simply under their own weight!

So, in the end, topping a tree degrades its structural integrity and increases the need for future pruning, increasing the overall cost of tree care.

When is the best time of the year to prune fruit trees?

The OSU Extension Service recommends February as the optimal time of year for fruit tree pruning.

This is because all the leaves have fallen, so the branching structure is more visible and accessible.

Anytime from December through February is fine, but February is best due to reduced risk of freezing damage.

What are some of the benefits trees provide in a landscape?

Deciduous trees planted strategically around buildings will provide shade in the summer and allow light through in the winter. This helps to keep cooling costs down when it’s hot and heating costs down when it’s cold!

Trees provide a habitat for wildlife, prevent erosion, improve air quality, and have been proven to have a positive effect on human psychology.

Our FAQ blog series is meant to educate Oregon homeowners so they can make better decisions about their trees, shrubs and landscape. Contact General Tree Service for more information or to schedule a service.

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