Tree Trimming & Removal


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Tree Trimming

Tree trimming and pruning are very similar, but the two terms actually refer to different things. Tree trimming refers to the action of cutting away branches from a tree or shrub to improve the appearance or “aesthetic” of the greenery. Simply put, trimming is what you do when you want your trees to look good. At Arthur Ratliff, we use a variety of tree trimming maintenance methods, including crown reduction and shaping, as well as crown or canopy cleaning and thinning.

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Tree Pruning

Tree pruning, on the other hand, is the removal of branches from a tree or shrub for health and safety purposes. You typically want to prune your trees when you notice any dying, dead or broken branches. So while “tree trimming” and “tree pruning” are mostly interchangeable terms, it’s important to understand the basic differences when you’re looking to hire certified arborists like ourselves!

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Tree Removal

There are many reasons why you might want to remove a tree in your yard, and the most common is the tree is dead or dying. Trees need to be regularly evaluated for their health, but unfortunately, pruning doesn’t always solve the problem. When trees are past the point of being saved by pruning branches, it’s time to remove the tree. It’s important that you hire certified professionals when you want to remove a tree because doing so can result in severe injuries or damage to your property. At Arthur Ratliff, we use safe and effective tree or stump removal methods so you don’t have to worry about anyone being hurt or causing harm to the area around the tree.

Are you in need of a tree service in Columbia, Missouri? Our certified arborists can help! Give us a call for a free tree trimming or removal quote today.


What is a certified arborist?

An arborist is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for and maintenance of individual trees. Certified arborists have passed the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) arborist certification program. When trimming trees, it’s not uncommon for people to trim branches at the wrong place. But at Arthur Ratliff Tree & Stump Removal, our certified arborists are dedicated to ensuring your trees are trimmed and removed from your property safely.

Why should I trim my trees?

There are three main reasons you should trim or prune your trees.

Beauty. Trimming your trees can enhance the aesthetic of your landscape. Whether you’re working with just a front yard or multiple acres of land, good-looking trees can improve your property value. According to the USDA Forest Service, healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a homeowner’s property value. You might also consider trimming your trees if they’re blocking the view of or from your property.

Health. Tree trimming also removes dead wood, which minimizes the chances of carpenter ants infesting dead branches and becoming pests. In addition, tree trimming prevents limbs from rubbing up against each other, which can ultimately lead to infection. Ultimately, trimming or pruning your trees ensures they will live longer.

Safety. Another great reason to have your trees trimmed is for your safety and the safety of the area around you. Properly maintained trees are significantly less likely to drop branches during storms and windy weather. You can also avoid potential electrical hazards by trimming trees close to power lines.

When is the best time to trim or prune trees?

The best time to trim or prune a tree depends on your goal for doing the trimming or pruning, but typically it is recommended to do so during a tree’s dormant season, when the tree isn’t growing. For most trees in Mid-Missouri, dormancy occurs during winter and early spring. If you are pruning to remove dead branches, you can do this at pretty much any time. Pruning in the winter will result in growth in the spring, but according to the Arbor Day Foundation, you should wait to do your winter pruning until after the coldest part has occurred. If you prune your trees in the summer, there’s a chance you will slow the growth of the tree.

Whatever you do, it is highly recommended NOT to trim or prune trees in the fall. This is because pruning at this time of year, when the trees are about to go dormant, can severely weaken them. Likewise, it is also recommended NOT to trim or prune trees when it’s wet outside, because wetness causes the spread of harmful mold and bacteria.

What’s the difference between trimming and pruning?

Tree trimming is what you’re doing when you just want to make your trees look prettier, and tree pruning is what you’re doing when you cut branches to make them healthier.

How do I know if branches are dead or dying?

There are several signs to look for if you think your tree or its branches are sick, dead or dying. The first place to look is the bark of the tree. If there are cracks or holes in it, this is a bad sign. It’s also a bad sign if you can see smooth areas of wood on the bark or branches. While, yes, old tree bark is meant to fall off, it is also meant to naturally replace itself — so if it’s not, your tree is at risk.

A tree is also at great risk if you spot any fungus on the bark. Fungi, such as shelf fungus or wood conchs, are signs your tree is rotting on the inside.

One easy way to spot dead branches is to look at their leaves. If a branch is leafless while the others are covered in healthy leaves, it’s time to call Arthur Ratliff. Our team will schedule a thorough inspection of your tree’s health.

When is it time to remove a tree?

We always recommend you do everything you can to prevent the removal of a tree, but sometimes there’s just no avoiding it. There’s not much you can do to save a tree when you notice it’s dead or dying, but there are other situations in which you might want to consider removing a tree altogether. For example, sometimes a tree’s location makes it too risky to keep around. If a tree or its branches are leaning into your property or power lines, it can be too much of a hazard to keep around. We highly recommend consulting one of our certified arborists before making any decisions regarding tree removal.

Can I trim my own trees or remove them from my property myself?

While you can trim your own trees and even attempt to remove them from your property yourself, we highly recommend calling our team of experts to help you with these tasks. If you aren’t familiar with pruning tools or how to make proper cuts on the branches, you could damage the tree without even knowing it. Removing a tree entirely can be extremely dangerous for you if you don’t know what you’re doing, and even if you do, a simple mistake could land you in the hospital or result in a tree crashing onto your house. And if a tree is close to a power line, you really shouldn’t attempt to remove it yourself. The safest way to go about removing a tree is always to call Arthur Ratliff.

How much does a tree removal service typically cost?

The average cost for tree removal falls anywhere between $75 – $1,500. Cost depends on a variety of factors, including complexity of job, height of the tree and its location. For more information on our pricing, get a quote today!