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What to charge for pruning

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by LawnEmpire, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. LawnEmpire

    LawnEmpire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I have pruned trees and bushes before but it was when i worked for a landscape company. Now im getting phone calls from people who want me to prune thier bushes and trees. What do I charge, I have no idea what the going rate for something like this is. Can anyone help?????
  2. NCL

    NCL LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 132

    I charge by the man hour. If they want a flat rate I usually will not do it unless I pretty confident on how long it will take, then I'll add a little extra just in case.
  3. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    There are a few simple principles that everybody should understand before
    they set out to prune a tree.

    • Each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree. Always have a
    purpose in mind before a cut is made.
    • Proper technique is essential. Poor pruning can cause damage that lasts for
    the life of the tree. Learn where and how to make the cuts before picking up
    the pruning shears.
    • Trees do not heal the way people do. When a tree is wounded it must grow
    over and compartmentalize the wound. As a result, the wound is contained
    within the tree forever.
    • Small cuts do less damage to the tree than large cuts. This is why proper
    pruning (training) of young trees is critical. Waiting to prune a tree when it
    is mature can create the need for large cuts that the tree cannot easily close.
  4. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Other names for topping include "heading," "tipping," "hat-racking," and "rounding over."

    The most common reason given for topping is to reduce the size of a tree. Often homeowners feel that their trees have become too large for their property. People fear that tall trees may pose a hazard.

    Topping, however, is not a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not reduce the hazard. In fact, topping will make a tree more hazardous in the long term.

    Topping Stresses Trees

    Topping often removes 50-100% of the leaf-bearing crown of a tree. Since the leaves are the food factories of a tree, this can temporarily starve a tree. The severity of the pruning triggers a sort of survival mechanism. The tree activates latent buds forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut. The tree needs to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible.
    If a tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do this, it will be seriously weakened and may die.

    A stressed tree is more vulnerable to insect and disease infestations. Large, open pruning wounds expose the sapwood and heartwood to attacks. The tree may lack sufficient energy to chemically defend the wounds against invasion, and some insects are actually to the chemical signals trees release.

    Topping Causes Decay

    The preferred location to make a pruning cut is just beyond the branch collar at the branch's point of attachment. The tree is biologically equipped to close such a wound, provided the tree is healthy enough and the wound is not too large. Cuts made along a limb between lateral branches create stubs with wounds that the tree may not be able to close. The exposed wood tissues begin to decay.

    Normally, a tree will "wall off" or compartmentalize the decaying tissues, but few trees can defend the multiple severe wounds caused by topping. The decay organisms are given a free path to move down through the branches.
  5. jasonnau

    jasonnau LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 454

    I usually average 40 dollars an hour for prunning, in fact almost all of my yardwork averages about that. Although, sometimes large trees and shrubs over 10 ft. can be a real pain. I usually bump up the price a little to compensate for the sore back that night.

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