Objective-Based Pruning

At Crown Down Tree Service, we believe that every tree is unique and deserves individualized care. Before we begin any pruning work, we take the time to assess the tree's condition, structure, and overall health. We work with our clients to develop a customized pruning plan that meets your specific needs and goals, whether you are looking to improve the tree's appearance, promote growth, or mitigate hazardous both immediate and long-term.

Our team takes great care to minimize the impact of our work on your property. Crown Down uses only the necessary equipment to minimize disturbance to your landscape, and always cleans up thoroughly after work is complete. Our goal is to provide you with the highest quality pruning services while preserving the natural beauty of your property.


Brian removing dead branches from an elm that overhangs an area of high-pedestrian traffic.

Pruning With Purpose

At Crown Down Tree Service, we believe that pruning should always be done with a purpose. We understand that every tree is unique and has its own specific needs, and that's why we take a careful and considered approach to pruning. We don't just prune for the sake of pruning, but rather with the goal of maintaining or improving the health, safety, and beauty of your trees.
We take pride in our work and are dedicated to providing the highest quality tree care in Northern Virginia. We believe that pruning with purpose is essential to the long-term health and beauty of your trees, and we are committed to providing personalized pruning services that meet your specific needs and goals.

A tricky pair of pruning cuts made with precision on a red maple to rid the tree of a bark inclusion and previously stubbed brnach. "Reaction wood" that has already begun growing at the collar of the stub was left in place to continue compartmentalizing the wound.

Pruning With Care

Crown Down takes pride in providing our clients with the highest quality of tree care and ensuring that consistent quality by utilizing the ANSI A300 guidelines as the minimum standard for our tree pruning practices. These guidelines were developed by arboriculture industry experts to establish a set of best practices for tree care operations, covering everything from pruning objectives to the tools and equipment used during pruning.

By adhering to these guidelines, we can ensure that our pruning practices are both safe and effective. We focus on making precise cuts that promote new growth and enhance the overall health and beauty of the tree while striving to maintain the tree's natural form and aesthetics.

Our goal is to provide our clients with a quality pruning experience that leaves their trees looking healthy, beautiful, and as if we were never there at all. 

Brian stepping back to check the aesthetic and weigh options for continued pruning of this back yard red bud without exceeding the maximum pruning dosage.

Pruning With Style

Tree pruning is an intricate process that requires both technical knowledge and creative skill. It is equal parts art and science, and both aspects are crucial to achieving a healthy and aesthetically pleasing tree. The science of tree pruning involves understanding the biology of trees, the nuances of each individual species, their growth patterns, and how they respond to different types of pruning. It also involves understanding the equipment and techniques used to make precise cuts that promote new growth and maintain the tree's health.

The art of tree pruning involves a more creative approach that takes into account the tree's natural form and aesthetics. It involves understanding how to shape the tree to enhance its beauty and complement the surrounding landscape. It also requires the ability to envision how a tree will grow and evolve over time and make pruning decisions accordingly. Crown Down's skilled tree pruners use their technical knowledge and creative vision to strike the perfect balance between science and art, resulting in healthy, beautiful, and thriving trees.


An appropriate pruning cut that is compartmentalizing nicely after a few years following our pruning service. 

Pruning With Patience

Trees are long-lived and slow-growing. Maintaining your trees is a process that takes multiple seasons or even years to realize the results of proper care. With every cut we make, consideration of how the tree will respond and continue to develop over time. Emphasis is always placed on promotion of healthy growth and prevention future problems. Our pruning services are designed to keep your trees healthy, safe, and beautiful for many years to come.

If pruning is not a viable option to achieve a client's goals for the long term, Crown Down will advise clients on more appropriate measures that can be taken to address their concerns through Tree Removals, Tree Support Systems, or non-conventional care approaches to make the most of trees that occupy client-owned spaces. Working with our arborist during your Free Estimate or through Tree Risk Assessments can help you to decide the best course of action to take.

Why should I prune my trees?

Pruning trees is an essential aspect of tree care and offers many benefits for both the tree and the surrounding landscape. First and foremost, pruning can improve the health and longevity of the tree by removing dead, diseased, or damaged branches. This promotes new growth and reduces the risk of pests and diseases that can harm the tree. Additionally, pruning can improve the overall structure and appearance of the tree, enhancing its natural beauty and increasing its value to the property.

Pruning can also promote safety by removing branches that may pose a risk to people or property. Overhanging or damaged branches can fall and cause injury or damage during severe weather conditions, such as high winds or heavy snow. By removing these branches, you can reduce the risk of accidents and property damage. It can promote sunlight and airflow, which is beneficial for both the tree and the surrounding plants. Proper pruning can improve the growth and development of neighboring plants by allowing light to show through the canopy in to understory areas that may otherwise be shaded. 

Lastly, when done correctly, a tree can be made to look aesthetically pleasing in addition to being healthy and long-lived. While aesthetics is undoubtedly an essential consideration in pruning, it should always come secondary to the health of the tree. Pruning for aesthetics can be subjective and may involve removing branches that are perfectly healthy, while neglecting the ones that need to be removed for the tree's well-being.  

Overall, pruning is an essential aspect of tree care that offers many benefits and can help maintain a healthy, safe, and attractive landscape. Every tree is different, that's why we recommend Contacting Us to have our arborist do a walkthrough of your property and give recommendations for your trees!

Why shouldn't I prune my trees?

Here are a few examples of reasons you should not prune:

When is the best time to prune my trees?

When it comes to tree care, timing is everything. Pruning at the wrong time can not only harm the tree but also affect its growth and overall health. Crown Down understands the importance of pruning at the right time and adheres to the best practices that make for healthy, happy trees. In general, the best time to prune trees is during the winter dormancy. Pruning during this time reduces the risk of disease and insect infestations, as many pests are also dormant during this time. Additionally, with no leaves on the tree, it is easier to see the tree's overall structure and identify areas that require pruning.
Certain species and climate situations will call for different pruning strategies and time tables. Some pruning may be conducted at any time of year such as in the case of dead-wood pruning. Call Us Today to have our experienced arborist help plan your next pruning project and give an assessment on your particular tree's needs!

My tree is too tall. Can I just cut it at the height that I want? (Tree "topping")

The short answer is, "You probably shouldn't." You may have seen several trees in your own neighborhood that have been cut back using a style of pruning called a "heading-cut," otherwise known as "topping" like in the image above. This method of pruning is seldom ever the most appropriate way to prune trees of any kind and should be considered a last resort. It is generally only ever appropriate to "top" a tree in cases where the benefits to budget and safety are too great to outweigh the costs of the effects that heading cuts have long-term on your trees such as:

Crown Down strongly feels that topping is a practice that should be avoided and that even in the rare instances that it is indicated, it should be treated as a temporary solution to a problem that can be avoided entirely by proper and routine pruning practices and/or Planting the right tree for the space. In the long run, you will almost always save more money and head-ache by simply having the tree completely removed or replaced. 

It is important to note that this guideline is not applicable to very young trees, trees intended for fruit production, and boutique pruning styles such as pollarding or espalier pruning. All of these instances require a different type of pruning regimen that calls for and may even require this type of pruning but should be done so with the same care and deliberateness as any other pruning style. As always, your arborist at Crown Down will guide you on your specific tree's needs during your Free Estimate!

How do you get way up in to the top of big trees to prune?

Never with spikes!

Pruning trees without the use of spikes is crucial for maintaining their health and longevity. Spikes can cause significant damage to the tree's bark and vascular system, creating open wounds that invite insects and disease. This can lead to the tree's decline or even death in severe cases. They can also create unsightly scars on the tree, detracting from its natural beauty. Using spikes for pruning is not only harmful to the tree, but it is also an outdated and unnecessary practice.

Thankfully, there are alternative means of accessing the upper canopy of trees for pruning. Using bucket trucks or a mobile lift allows for safe and efficient access to the tree's upper branches without causing harm to the tree. Crown Down's specialty is to use a rope and harness allowing for precise and controlled pruning, often placing the climber closer to the cut than if they were in a bucket or on the ground and minimizing incidental damage to the tree. As a professional tree service, we prioritize the health and well-being of our clients' trees and use only the most effective and safe methods for pruning. By choosing a tree service that prunes without spikes like Crown Down, you can ensure your trees receive the care they need to thrive for years to come.