It’s not difficult to spot a tree that hasn’t been properly pruned, according to James Cairnes, owner of a Small World Tree Company, a Diamond Certified company. The first thing you might see are ugly stubs. “Basically you can hang your hat on an old stub, and that’s not good at all," says Cairnes. “They can cause decay in the main trunk.”
Weeping holes are another bad sign. This damage comes from a tree trimmer who uses spikes or spurs to climb the tree, another unprofessional practice. One of the worst types of pruning is called “topping.” While crown reduction of the canopy of the tree is good, Mr. Cairnes notes that it should only remove about 1/3 of the height of the tree. When trees are “topped,” more than half the tree is taken away, which is not appealing aesthetically, and is harmful to the tree.