Thinning a Pine Tree

Along the same theme as the recent post on Citrus pruning, I would like to show you how we thin a pine tree. We were called to take off a few of the lower branches on this Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) so there would be more clearance over the lawn and sidewalk. The other objective was to thin the tree out so the wind can blow through rather than against it. This is intended to make the tree less prone to damage in storms. The interior of these pines are always filled with small dead branches that need to be cut out.

The easiest way to reach the inside of the tree is by climbing. Usually there are regularly spaces branches that make good hand and foot-holds – at least on the way up. A climbing line can be installed in the top of the tree and the branches removed on the way down. When done the line can be pulled down from the ground. It is hard to get the lift into the center of the tree where the branches originate and need to be cut off.

Just as a reminder – we use thousands of dollars worth of specialized equipment as well as extensive training and experience on a job like this. DON’T try this at your home…

This Aleppo split fairly low to the ground into five main stems. Each one had to be climbed to remove the deadwood. Shannon installed the climbing line in the middle and was able to swing to several of the other limbs which saved time and was safer.

Here are before and after pictures taken from the base of the tree looking streight up:


... and After.

You can see a tremendous difference in the density of the tree! While is may seem that everything has been cut from the main branches, it really is an art to know which ones to remove. I am constantly checking the appearance of the tree from different angles on the ground and directing the cutting.

Here is Shannon working in the tree. He only used the small chainsaw once to remove a larger limb, which we roped down. I sent the extra rope and the saw up to him on the climbing line and he sent things back down when he was done. Working with just the handsaw in the tree adds greatly to ones mobility!

Aleppo Pines are some of the larger trees that we work on in this area.

We will be taking some branches off a large Mesquite tree with the lift tomorrow. I hope to finish by noon as we have a special activity taking place in the afternoon/evening. Tomorrow will be Shannon’s last day working for Sonoran Tree Service. He will be leaving in a few weeks for Basic Training in the Army and a career as a Heavy Equipment Operator and Combat Engineer. Although he will be gone, he will not be forgotten – I have numerous picture I want to use in future posts, so you’ll be seeing him again. We wish him the best and want to thank him for all his hard work for Sonoran Tree Service!