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Are Trees Blocking Your View and Lights?

By Sophia Huang

Tree pruning is essential for property maintenance and risk management. Pruning trees helps keep them healthy and safe, which in turn creates a safer community. One type of pruning is visibility pruning, which focuses on removing overgrown branches to retain visibility around the tree. Impaired visibility creates inconvenience and safety issues. Read on to learn why trees need visibility pruning, how to have well-pruned trees, and tips on reducing pruning frequency!


Unsafe Community

When trees are overgrown, their canopies block out light sources and security cameras. Blocked lights create shadows that can conceal potential hazards, and blocked security cameras fail to monitor the community. This increases the risk of accidents and a sense of insecurity.

Impaired Visibility of Street Signs and House Numbers

Overgrown branches obscure street signs and house numbers, making it challenging for visitors, emergency services, and delivery personnel to locate addresses. This can cause delays, confusion, and frustration.

Issues for Pedestrians and Vehicles

Low-hanging branches reduce clearance and visibility for pedestrians and vehicles. People may need to crouch or maneuver around obstructing branches, and visibility is obstructed to traffic. Insufficient clearance also increases the risks of injury to pedestrians and damage to vehicles.

Increased Risk in Common Areas

Parks, playgrounds, and other common areas provide space for recreation and social interaction. However, when trees in these areas aren’t pruned, they can obstruct sightlines. Parents may have difficulty monitoring their children, and individuals may feel uneasy due to limited visibility, deterring them from enjoying common areas.


The answer depends on several factors, such as tree species, age, and location. Fast-growing tree species require more frequent pruning to maintain their shape and health. Younger trees generally require more frequent pruning to shape their growth and establish a strong structure. Older trees may need less frequent pruning but should be assessed often for dead or diseased branches. Trees near structures, walkways, or power lines need more regular pruning to maintain safe clearance and prevent damage. A certified arborist can provide you with customized recommendations, but a general guideline is to aim for an annual assessment and pruning cycle.


Are the pruning cuts safe & healthy for the tree?

Removing and shortening branches not only improves visibility, but also affects tree health and structure. Proper pruning practices ensure the tree survives and maintains balanced growth. Proper cuts should be made at the branch collar, which is the swollen area where the branch connects to the trunk or larger branch. Making cuts outside the branch collar, such as stub or flush cuts, can lead to decay, failure, or growth spurts.

Furthermore, aim to remove 25% or less of the tree’s living canopy in one pruning session. Over-pruning can stress the tree in rapid regrowth, which means you’ll need even more pruning.

Direct New Growth Away from Structures

Ideally, prune to direct new growth away from structures. Selective branch removal can encourage new growth in the desired directions, preventing conflicts with buildings, power lines, or other structures. That way, you won’t have to come back and prune as often.

Use Tree Growth Regulator

Tree Growth Regulator (TGR) is widely used in the plant nursery and landscaping industries. It’s a synthetic growth hormone inhibitor that reduces tree growth by 60-80% over three years with just one application! By using TGR, you can prune less often, saving time and money! The length of efficacy varies with tree species and local climate, and not every tree species is well suited for TGR. A certified arborist can assess your trees and recommend the best tree care solution.

Take care of your community by staying on top of visibility pruning. With proper pruning and these tips, you can enjoy healthy trees and a safe community!


Sophia Huang is the marketing & education leader at A Plus Tree, LLC. A Plus Tree, LLC is dedicated to serving clients with respect, inspiring sustainability, and improving the urban forest every day.



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