Southeast Arborist, LLC was contracted by a homeowner in Palm Beach County, FL to evaluate her Oak tree after she hired a local landscape company to perform pruning. The image above was the final product this company left the homeowner with. Topping or hat-racking as it is called is not an acceptable practice among Arborists. Countless times I have been hired to consult to determine whether a tree can be saved or needs to be removed after being mutilated. In many cases a tree can be restored to its natural form and we work with our customers to devise a plan to do just that. This particular tree was within an HOA community which was subject to Palm Beach Counties implemented pruning codes. Not only does the County have pruning codes which if violated could lead to significant fines and additional cost of restoration, or removal and replacement but towns and HOA’s are adopting these same rules and regulations.

With the threat of hurricanes here in South Florida it does cause concern for the general public about the safety of their trees. Many times I have been called to a property to provide an estimate for pruning a tree and the customer requests that the tree be hat-racked or topped. In these cases I try to educate the customer as to why pruning of this nature is not advised. Most of the time after I educate them as to what will happen to their tree and the potential for violations if we were to top their tree, they agree to have it properly pruned. The safety concerns and risks a tree poses to a property can usually be mitigated without using improper pruning practices. If we cannot reduce the risks and accomplish what the customer is looking for within code, removal of that tree is considered. Removal is always our last resort as a recommendation, although there has been cases where a tree is not suitable for its location and we have had to remove it. Installing a tree that is more suitable for that location after one has been removed is always recommended and often required. Our team of ISA Certified Arborists will work with you through the whole process and guide you in the selection of a tree species within that location.

Avoid having any issues with your HOA or a code violation with the town or county you live in by hiring properly trained tree care professionals the first time. Often times people will hire their landscapers or fly by night companies to perform their tree care because they are typically less expensive than a qualified tree care professional. Other times homeowners have their landscapers perform their tree pruning or removal out of convenience. Not only are landscapers not insured for tree care but they are not usually trained how to properly and safely perform the work. Any tree service advertising topping is an indication that you will not be getting properly trained personnel.

Here at Southeast Arborist, LLC all our tree care is performed by ISA Certified Arborists, which is considered one of the highest levels of certification a tree worker can acquire and this is what separates us from the competition. We strive to exceed every customer needs and expectations in a professional manner. Improved aesthetics and safety of your trees is something you can expect from our highly trained staff.

Tree Pruning Code Violation
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