Frequently Asked Questions     


Q. When is the best time to prune a tree?

A. Any time! The emphasis must be on how we prune rather than when we prune. It is more important to prune a tree or shrub accurately using target pruning methods throughout the year than it is to prune a tree badly at the so called 'right' time of year.                                           However, timing can be important for some trees such as silverbirch, cherry and apricot which are susceptible to silver leaf disease. They should be pruned in late summer or early autumn, if possible, when the weather is warm and dry to minimise the likelihood of fungal infection.                 Some deciduous trees such as walnut and silverbirch should not be pruned just before they come into bud at the start of spring as this will cause the pruning cuts to 'bleed' profusely. Trees and shrubs that are flowering or fruiting can be pruned with no detrimental side affects to the plants health. If the flowering is important, the timing can be adjusted to suit the clients requirements. Often, if the pruning work is carried out correctly, we can enjoy the combined benefits of an improved crown structure/shape and still retain a portion of the flowering or fruit. When pruning deciduous trees in winter, it can be difficult to accurately shape or assess the levels of deadwood in the crown as there is no leafy material to compare it to. Only an experienced arborist will be able to obtain the optimum desired results in these conditions. Otherwise, trees can generally be pruned at any time.                     

Q. How often should I prune my trees?

A. Generally speaking, every 1-2 years to obtain the optimum desired result from your trees and shrubs.                                                         However, the requirements tend to differ from plant to plant based on factors like: type, size, age, shape, location, previous pruning history, etc. so the most accurate way to determine an appropriate form of management is to receive a free on site consultation/quotation from PROARB LTD.


Q. How much will it cost?

A. Most of my quotations are carried out on a Saturday because my clients are generally available on the weekend and Sunday is my family day :) I am available to make appointments during the week depending on your availability. When I am on site looking at the trees, I will be able to advise you on the work required and if the opportunity arises, any relevant general information about the plants in the garden then provide a highly detailed written quote describing the work required, cost, timing, branch material management, etc. and it is all done on the spot taking about half an hour to three quarters of an hour to complete the appointment.                       The quote is valid for 30 days.                                                           If the invoice is paid within 7 days, a 5% discount applies.                      In some cases I provide an hourly rate typically for two people, where the job will vary or may take a day or two to complete as it is the most cost effective and accurate way of pricing larger jobs.


Q. Who would you recommend to remove the branch            material?

A. Because we do not remove the green waste material from the garden,  I have developed a long working relationship with both Jims Mowing and      Joe Wilson from Treecycle who provide these services. Other forms of green waste management include: The client hiring a bin and loading the waste or using a student to do the same. Clients using their own trailer or a hire trailer to remove branch material. As much as possible, we would recommend processing then stacking the branch material down banks or in designated areas within the garden as this will effectively eliminate the additional removal cost as well as incorporating more organic matter into the garden environment. As part of our tree management services, we can cut the heavier branch/trunk material into firewood to reduce the overall volume of material that will need to be removed. The cost and details of the branch removal are confirmed at the time of the quotation. I have chosen not to remove the branch material because it is far more cost effective to employ the services of companies that have been set up specifically for this task. I am confident that when the cost of the tree work is combined with the cost of green waste removal, the overall cost would still be very competitive with any other tree work quote.

Q. Can I prune trees on my neighbours property?

A. Common Law states that you can remove overhanging branches back to the boundary without the tree owners permission. We have found that when managing boundary trees, it is important to have open communication with your neighbours. This allows both parties to discuss issues like how the trees are affecting the property, the intended tree work required, whether or not the cost will be shared, etc.                            Neigbouring trees and boundary trees can be a sensitive issue and every effort should be taken to ensure that all parties are given the opportunity to have their concerns or opinions taken into consideration. If this process is carried out with understanding and clarity, it can be a positive exercise in strengthening neigbourly relations.       Consumer Institute NZ


Q. Can I prune Wellington City Council trees?

A. The short answer is NO.                                                        Although, I have established a long standing working relationship with the manager of W.C.C. Parks and Gardens tree team and feel that there is always an opportunity to put a case foward on behalf of our clients to obtain permission to carry out specific work. The main points for consideration are that the council is not liable for pruning any of their trees that are affecting light and veiws as this exclusion has been written into their tree management policy. They will not reduce the height of trees as they consider that this can have an adverse affect on the shape and structure of their trees. This means that it is very unlikely that the tree team will approve work mentioned above, but I have found that on some occasions they are willing to use their discretion to allow some work to be carried out as they know that we will always put the health and form of their trees foremost in any work undertaken. If permission is obtained, we are in a position to carry out this work as one of the policy requirements are that only W.C.C. Compliant Contractors are permitted to complete this type of work. We have held this status since 2005 and it insures that the work will be completed safely and professionally, to the councils specific requirements. 

Wellington City Council verges policy          

Pohutukawa trees @ 17 Inglis St, Seatoun were thinned to obtain more light into the front garden once permission had been obtained from David Spencer, WCC, Parks and Gardens, tree liaison officer 

Q. Do I need to put any paint or sealant on the pruning          cuts?

A. No. Paints and sealants are counter productive to the healing process as they eventually provide a cool, moist environment between the paste and the pruning cut for disease to develop and take hold. Modern day arboriculture acknowledges a process called "compartmentalization". This allows the tree to set up its own natural defences against pest and disease attack by initiating phytochemical and physical boundaries in and around the wound when the pruning cut is made at the branch collar.              One of the signs of compartmentalization is the 'donut effect' seen around the outside of the pruning wound. This is initiated when the pruning cut is made back to the branch collar at the base of the branch. The callus growth will thicken annually until it eventually covers the pruning wound, further making it unnecessary to apply a pruning paste.                                Urban Forests and Trees

Paints or sealants won't resolve issues associated with poor pruning 

Callus tissue forming around the outside of the pruning cut creating a 'donut effect'. Layers represent annual growth, approximately 3 years.

Fully compartmentalized pruning cuts

Q. Is lichen harmful to trees?

A. No. This is because lichen only occurs on tree branches/trunks bark layer and does not attack the trees vascular system. Lichen is made up of a combination of fungi and algae that exist in a mutually beneficial association. Energy is produced by sun light and soluable nutrients found in rain water. Lichen can be an issue were it is found on the growing tip of the plant as this can suppress emerging growth. In some cases, lichen can be considered to be attractive were it might make a tree look older or more unusual and with so many different varieties, they really are one of nature wonders. Lichen can be controlled by either manually rubbing the lichen off by hand or by using a chemical or organic sprays.