Tree Trimming and Shaping

Healthy trees are a valuable asset to your property and the environment as a whole. Gator Tree Experts has specialized for years in proper tree trimming practices. The longevity of trees and their vitality can greatly be improved by proper periodic maintenance.

Trees need to be raised off the buildings and pool screens. This protects the roof from shingle damage and helps prevent mildew and other fungus, which thrive on wet conditions. By getting good separation away from the structures it allows the air and breezes and a bit more sunlight to decrease these problems. The increased circulation of air also allows wood surfaces and trim to dry faster, helping to prevent rotted wood and the high cost of repair.

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Good separation off the building is also recommended by pest control, helping to prevent rats and rodents and insects onto the building. On larger trees we specialize in doing a “light thin” to decrease wind resistance in high winds. Trees not properly thinned are like a large sail, in high winds, often uprooting or losing large sections, disfiguring the tree.

images/WoodRott.jpgIn our sandy soil 98% of the root system is in the first 24” (inches) of grade. The shallow root system puts large un-thinned and un-maintained trees at risk of uprooting in storm winds, especially after a few days of rain saturates the ground.

The cost of the clean up and the loss of the tree could be avoided at a fraction of the cost by thinning and canopy reduction.

NOTE: If the tree in the picture was lightened and property thinned it would probably be still standing today.

In our thinning practice we remove smaller secondary branches growing “parallel” or crossing, consistently thinning throughout the canopy. We remove some inner sucker growth, all major deadwood and flush protruding dead stubs with proper cuts. The light thinning allows the wind to blow through in high winds, like cutting holes in the “large sail.” The sod enjoys a bit more sunlight and the landscaping as well.

Moss is another factor when it gets in large abundance. It blocks sunlight from the leaves (Click for: “Moss Removal”) and adds tremendous weight and wind resistance especially in wet conditions. It is suggested that large concentrations of moss be removed in our trimming and maintenance programs.

Notice we use the word “light thin” – The trees do not need to be “over cut.” We accomplish our objective and decrease wind resistance, but leave the integrity of the tree.

Another phrase we used was in making “proper cuts.”

All the holes or cavities in trees have developed over the years by no maintenance or improper maintenance. Old broken stubs left protruding, improper cuts not back to the “callis roll” all block the trees natural callis growth. The callis cannot heal over and rottage and cavities spread and expand into the main trunk or extremity sections of the tree.

On tree inspections our climbers go up into the tree at no cost and place a probe into suspected cavities. We can see from the ground how far the probe goes in and estimate the percentage of heartwood missing. In the trunk and at ground level it is much easier to do.

Sap goes up the tree in the cambium layer, just under the bark. A tree can be almost completely hollow, 90% of the heartwood missing and still have a healthy, vibrant canopy. The heartwood is only for structural support, very beautiful, but very dangerous!

In such a case removal would be recommended.


It takes years to grow a big tree. Often if the tree has sections not too badly rotted, with 30% to 40% of the heartwood missing, we would suggest “safety trimming” or canopy reduction back to safer larger wood. This is done to reduce weight being supported and also to decrease wind resistance.

By reducing 20% to 30% and 40% if necessary, depending on the percentage of heartwood missing, we can keep these older un-maintained trees around for many years.

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