Open 24/7, 360 Days A Year. | Emergency Tree Removal, Call Now! (503) 665-3917

The Art of Tree Shaping

Trees have long since been homes to a variety of animals. Humans, too, have looked to the treetops for ways to stay safe and secure from both the elements and predators that can cause harm.

And while most of us today simply use the wood from trees to build our dream homes, in some cases our dream homes become a part of the trees. From climbing walls, zip lines, and footbridges, these modern-day treehouses are enough to make anyone swoon. Even if it is only for a weekend.

Yes, our history shows we’ve always had a fascination for finding ways of incorporating trees into our daily lives. And it’s not always about harvesting them for manufacturing and production purposes. The art of tree shaping has evolved over the centuries as well.

The Art of Tree ShapingWhen you think of a tree service company, especially here in Portland, chances are you think of them in two aspects:

1. Providing care for the forests throughout our community.

2. Providing care for trees that line our streets and grow on our property to ensure they maintain a healthy life and do so without putting our homes, buildings and other personal property at risk.

But as a tree service company, we have the ability to do so much more.

Extreme Tree Shaping
If you look back in time, tree shaping is often portrayed in paintings and in literature. But in our modern times, Axel Erlandson is known as the father of modern arborsculpture, where the artform of tree shaping flourished.

Arborsculpture stretches beyond removing the dead from a tree and ensuring it’s in good health. This art form uses trees to create a living, breathing artwork right before your eyes. These tree shapers rely on the pliability of a tree’s branches and root system to create benches, chairs, bridges, fences, even homes out of nothing more than the tree itself. And the effects are simply amazing.  

Tree shaping is usually performed at this level in one of three ways:

Aeroponic root culture, where the root system is grown and used to create living, breathing walls over a long period of time. This only works well with trees that can cope with their roots being exposed to air – like the fig tree.

Arborsculpture, where whips from a tree are bent and woven together, held in place by metal bars until the trees new growth accepts the new direction and strengthens into its new shape.

Gradual tree shaping, where consistent training and shaping is done throughout the life of the tree, with daily intervention to ensure proper growth, allowing the tree to have less stress and less damage over time.

This level of tree shaping is fascinating. The look and functionality can be second to none.

Realistic for our everyday lifestyles? Well …

Everyday Tree Shaping
But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from these artistic tree shapers and use these same ideas to give our landscaping more depth. Tree shaping is a crucial part of tree care. By properly shaping trees, you ensure a healthy tree throughout its life. It enhances its growth, lowers the risk of disease, and prevents damage from occurring through regular occurrences.

If you’ve ever purchased a home before, you know the advantages of having healthy trees in your yard. Not only do trees improve the curb appeal of a home, but they can also add to the value of the property.

As a tree service company with many years servicing homes throughout the Portland community, we’ve found there are easy ways to keep your trees in top shape throughout the year. Here are a few tips you can follow to ensure their health and stability.

Tip 1: Pruning is a necessity
Pruning your trees isn’t something you should put off until next season (or next year). The longer you wait, the more damage can occur to your trees. But before you head up the ladder and attempt to do the job yourself, ask how much you know. If you aren’t sure of what to cut and what to leave, it’s better to leave the job to the experts. A tree service company can do it the right way the first time and give you back your free time to do the things you truly love.

Tip 2: Tree shaping is best done during late fall or winter
Yes, there is a science behind the perfect time to shape and prune your trees. By shaping your trees in the late fall or winter season, there is less risk to your trees. Leaves have fallen off; the cold weather has slowed sap running through the trees. By cutting during these seasons, you’ll help your trees avoid the stress that comes with the pruning process. Most insects are dormant during these months, which means your trees are less prone to attacks and infections that can be transmitted at a time when trees are most vulnerable.

However, if your tree is damaged in any way, no matter what season, it’s best to prune and trim your tree immediately to improve its health and get it back into top shape.

Tip 3: Cutting is an artform
Pruning is more than grabbing a branch and slicing away. Cut the wrong branch and you can do more harm than good.

A good tree service understands how important it is to keep a tree healthy and stable. An arborist has training in the right way to cut a tree. First, cut branches that rub together or cross in any way. They will also trim off branches that have odd angles or are growing abnormally from the rest of the branches. And of course, if any branches are damaged, weak or unhealthy, those must go as well. Cuts are always made at an angle, away from the body of the tree. Avoid stripping the bark away from the trunk and inflicting more damage by cutting a portion of the underside of the target branch before making the final cut on top.

Tip 4: Don’t over prune
Have you ever started cutting and can’t quit? If you take away too much of the canopy of a tree, it won’t be able to produce enough food to survive. Branches take in the nutrients a tree needs to grow and build strength. If you cut them away, it loses its ability to weather the elements throughout the year. When in doubt, leave the branches in place. A tree service expert will know the right way to prune leaving you with a tree that will be in place for years.

When is the last time you had a professional tree service look at your trees?