Why Tree Doctors Should Perform the Surgery

Wachtel Tree Science has a well-deserved
reputation for saving trees and solving complex
tree problems. Not every tree can or
even should be saved, given its condition,
age, prognosis, remaining expected lifespan, risk of failure,
or ability to fulfill its purpose in the landscape. However,
when it is reasonable to pursue a course of action,
utilizing the various treatment regimes at our disposal,
Wachtel has a proven track record that is well known.
Prospects and customers usually readily agree with
this assessment of Wachtel, as we are known to have the
most Certified Arborists in the State, most having
degrees in Arboriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Natural
Resources or related fields. They put their trust in us
to perform a wide variety of treatments to regain or
sustain their trees’ health.
I am surprised, however, how often pruning
is relegated to “less competent” arborists. The reasoning
given is that our expertise and “brain power” are not
needed for mundane pruning needs. This position needs
to be examined!
Pruning is important and involves the removal of
carefully selected parts of the tree: limbs, branches,
shoots, trunks. No selections are arbitrary. When removing
living parts, there must be recognition of numerous
disease development manifestations, or insect life cycles
as they relate to signs, symptoms or damage visible for
detection. There must be careful consideration of
branch biology: growth, form, and its relation to other
branches, now and in the future, to determine whether
or not it is removed, retained or altered. All of these
considerations will vary also with the species or cultivar
and age of the tree involved. (What is best for one tree
may be completely wrong for another.)
With all of these instances, as well as with dead
tree parts, the manner in which it is removed is
extremely important. This is surgery, after all. Cutting must preserve the living structures that deal with compartmentalization
(“healing”) within the tree. If these
are compromised, the tree will be injured and spend
years and a lot of wasted energy trying to overcome the
damage. Even dead parts interface with living tissue and
must be carefully excised so that infection and decay
does not start. All of our expertise, knowledge and technical
skills are brought to bear — after all, surgery is
potentially a bigger help or hindrance than many treatment
applications. Furthermore, the results from these
“operations” stay with the tree for the rest of its life!
We all have heard horror stories of how incompetent
human medical practitioners have removed the wrong
organ, limb or left tools or sponges within the body cavity!
Don’t let this happen to your tree! If you spend good
money for tree maintenance, and it is time for the tree’s
pruning treatment, don’t waste money paying some tree
cutter to harm it. That is far more costly and it would be
better to delay pruning until it can be done right.
by Anthony C. Arnoldi, Board Certified Master Arborist WI-0102B

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