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ID'ing trees and advice on triming/pruning!

ID'ing trees and advice on triming/pruning!

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  #1  
Old 06-02-15, 05:16 PM
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ID'ing trees and advice on triming/pruning!

The previous owner planted these trees about 10 years ago and never pruned them...now they have grown 2-story high (we have 9ft ceilings), so they are about 20ft high?..

first of all, what are these trees and how tall can they grow?
second, how much should i trim the sides, and should i top the trees as well? i am gonna outsource this job, but i read online that once you start topping them, you need to maintain it every year...we have a lot of these trees as you can see in the pics, we dont want to spend lots of money every year to maintain them...
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  #2  
Old 06-02-15, 05:30 PM
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we are a corner lot, so we have 2 rows of these trees shown in the pic, probably 15-20 trees altogether. I got a quote from a tree company for trimming both sides of the trees for $685, if we want them topped, that's $400 extra. But the owner of the company does not seem too knowledgeable about these trees, so I want to get more opinion here. Also if this is an annual job, we definitely dont want to spend 600-1k a year just to maintain the trees.
Please help! Thank you.
 
  #3  
Old 06-02-15, 05:41 PM
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They are obviously evergreen trees but you already knew that. I suspect some kind of cedar or perhaps some variety of arborvitae. If left alone they could likely reach 100 feet in height or more.

What you have is a CLASSIC example of a homeowner not knowing what he/she is planting and making no allowance for the eventual size. The previous owner planted the trees WAY too close together; after a few years it should have been obvious what was going to happen down the road and every other tree (at least) should have been removed. You could still do that, maybe even taking out two trees between the ones that you save, to allow better conditions for the remaining trees.

Whatever, this is not a DIY job and I suggest that you call a few tree service companies and ask for their certified arborist to come take a look and then present a plan of action. It will probably entail removing every other tree along with thinning the remaining trees to allow more sunlight into the interior of the tree. They will look funny for about a year and then look better than before. DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO "TOP" THE TREES because topping will almost always kill the tree a few years down the road.
 
  #4  
Old 06-02-15, 06:03 PM
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Thank you Furd!
yeah I think I definitely need expert advice. The contractor who gave me the quote obviously does not have very good knowledge about these trees.
Why do you say do not allow anyone to top the trees? If we dont top them, will they end up growing too tall?
 
  #5  
Old 06-02-15, 06:39 PM
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Even if you top a tree, a new leader will take over over time. It will also not stop the tree from growing out. I had a deer top a tree for me and it is still growing for about 4 years.

IMO - I would leave them alone. They make a good screen from the road.
 
  #6  
Old 06-02-15, 06:39 PM
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Why do you say do not allow anyone to top the trees? If we dont top them, will they end up growing too tall?
Too tall for what? Trees, like every other living thing, have their size genetically programmed. Topping a tree opens the trunk to all sorts of damage including from insects and just plain water. It causes a tree to rot from the top down and THAT makes the tree unstable and liable to breaking much more easily during storms that would normally have little to no effect on a healthy tree. In my opinion there is only one acceptable reason to top a tree and that is if you are going to continue all the way to the ground, i.e are completely getting rid of the tree.
 
  #7  
Old 06-02-15, 06:54 PM
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They are eastern red cedar or another closely related species of juniper. You can top them (power company here does it all the time, and I have never seen a stand killed by it) but it WILL make them look quite ugly, as would trimming every other tree... (by exposing the bare spots between trees- cedars don't produce thick foliage where the trees are not currently receiving light).... at least until those areas got a chance to grow back and fill in. They can grow to 100 feet or more, but you would be an old man by that time. They are good as a wind break, but also they get to looking bad as they age. Worst part is how the branches like to sprawl out and lay on the ground, smothering everything under them. They also don't respond well to trimming lower branches like you might do on a pine tree. Most farmers in our area would call them a nuisance tree, some cut and burn them before they take over. These trees also will ruin any apple trees in the area. See cedar apple rust.
 
  #8  
Old 06-03-15, 06:29 AM
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I dont want them to grow too tall, because they are already 20ft tall now, i cant imagine when they grow to 30+ft...
the other thing is, if i only "thin" the trees but not "top" the trees, will they be more vulnerable to fall during storm?
 
  #9  
Old 06-03-15, 05:56 PM
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I’m with those who feel that some of the trees should just be removed. They’re beautiful trees, and form a wonderful wind break, but they are too close together. I also wouldn’t be inclined to top them off; not only will they look tacky, but topping off won’t stop them growing. I’ve seen so many trees topped off by utility contractors, and they always look butchered and unbalanced.

This might be a long shot, but I’m wondering if local landscapers might take out some of the trees for free if you offer to donate the trees to them. This might be a possibility around Christmastime and save some other trees from sacrifice just for a month or so of holiday decorations. Or perhaps some local municipality would like a free Christmas tree and would have their own contractors remove them.

As to thinning out increasing storm vulnerability, I think it would actually be the other way around. More trees, crowded together, may eventually weaken some or most of the trees, and then they would be more vulnerable. They can grow stronger if they're not competing for space and aeration.
 
  #10  
Old 06-04-15, 04:42 AM
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Trees

Thinning the trees will make the ones remaining grow even faster since there will be less competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight.

I would like to see some up-close photos of the foliage made with the sun behind you. I think we are guessing at the variety. Could be hemlock.

I would remove all of them and plant a more desirable variety.
 
  #11  
Old 06-09-15, 09:45 AM
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I just had an arborist came to take a look yesterday. He said they're Leyland Cypress.

He said if he were me, he would keep them as is. Nothing much needs to be done on these trees.

I asked him if I should top them off a little bit, he said they dont usually top off trees, but if the height is a real concern to me, they can top off 5' to create a hedge look. This will cost ~$1100. This can be done every 2-3 years.

As for thinning, he said he wouldn't think it is necessary for now, unless someone complains about the trees growing over the fence...which nobody has complained yet...since we are at a corner lot...

I will have another arborist come Wednesday, just to hear different opinion.

What do you guys think? Does what he said make sense?
 
  #12  
Old 06-09-15, 09:55 AM
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I'm not fond of topping trees! IMO it both spoils the looks and severely pruned trees are seldom as healthy or strong as they were before. I'd leave them as is and if that wasn't acceptable, consider removing them completely.
 
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