The Importance of Trees

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  • Trees improve air quality.
  • Trees provide shade, reducing  temperatures.
  • Trees help reduce the volatility of  air pollutants by intercepting many airborne particles.
  • Urban trees reduce the potential of city heat islands, created by solid, impervious surfaces to change weather patterns.
  • Trees provide wildlife habitat.

The Importance of trees Brochure Updated 2HEALTH BENEFITS

Studies have found a correlation between community forests and the average amount of physical activity exerted by neighborhood residents. People are more inclined to get outdoors and exercise when their surroundings are greener.


Healthy, mature trees (15 or more years old) add appeal and, thus, 10 to 15 percent to residential property value and have a positive effect on occupancy rates and home sales. Neighborhood green spaces increase the value of nearby property.

A mature tree absorbs and stores an average of 13 pounds of carbon each year.


Trees make communities livable for people and soften the outline of masonry, metal, and glass.

Trees can be associated with specific places and with memories of past events, former  times, or favorite tree climbed as a youth.

Would you like to donate to the Arbor Day Tree Fund?                       

Your generous contribution will be utilized to further enhance our mission. The Arbor Day Tree Fund is dedicated to help purchase and supply trees to residents, schools, and for plantings in public places. You can also donate funding to plant a tree in honor or in memory of a loved one!

Click here to donate!


Structural Pruning vs Destructive Pruning Practices of Topping & Lions-Tailing

tree method

Maintaining our urban forest is of upmost importance as our area continues to rapidly transition from farm land to residential and commercial uses. 

Without proper pruning, our area trees grow large low limbs that:

  • can damage houses & garage structures,
  • make pedestrian and vehicular roads, sidewalks, and driveways hazardous
  • block the critical line-of-sight that vehicular and pedestrian traffic need to turn into and out of driveways, streets, and sidewalks.

There are easy rules to follow when structurally pruning trees.  When you follow these rules you can shape the tree into a desired form and keep it healthy:

  1. Locate and encourage ONE central dominant leader branch/stem.
  2. Cut back all other codominant branches (branches to the sides that compete with the leader to be the tallest trunk/stem) either to a lower branch at least 1/3 the diameter of the cut branch or all the way back to the main stem.
  3. Eliminate all V-shaped crotches by removing the less desirable branch.
  4. Do not leave stubs. (when a branch is cut in the middle of the branch and is left open to insects and fungus). Prune back to a main branch as in #2- 1/3 the diameter of the cut branch, or back to the main stem or lateral branch.
  5. Cut out dead, crossing, rubbing, and straight upward (or drooping downward) growing branches.
  6. Only leave two branches to a single crotch, if U-shaped, never V-shaped.
  7. DO NOT CUT MORE THAN 25% of the total foliage at one season’s cutting.
  8. ALWAYS LEAVE AT LEAST  ½ LIVE CROWN RATIO, preferably 2/3 live crown ratio.  The trunk portion without leaves should NEVER be ½ or more of the total tree height.
  9. REPEAT the process #1- #8 above once per year and keep raising the single leader trunk height by removing more and more of the lowest branches while always only cutting 25% of the total foliage each cutting, and leaving, again, over ½ up to 2/3 in live crown ratio. 

YOU NEED TO LEAVE THE LEAVES. Sugars produced in green leaves through the miracle process of photosynthesis produce 100% of the tree’s food.  Cutting more leaves than necessary will weaken the tree’s defenses against harsh weather, insects, disease, strong winds, etc. Don’t starve your tree.



  1. TOPPING: Also called: heading, tipping, hat-racking, and rounding over.  Violates rules #1- 9 above: No central dominant leader branch stem, lots of stubs and few leaves.  This usually looks like giving the tree a buzz-cut.  Topping is the most harmful tree pruning practice known. And yet, here in the RGV topping remains a common practice. 

            Check out this link:

  1. LIONS-TAILING: Lion’s Tail Pruning is when all the lower branches are removed, leaving only tufts of leaves and small branches at the ends of the large limbs. Not enough leaves to produce food, so trees suffer from malnutrition, sun burn, and increased limb breakage.  Reducing the leaves to a small tuft at the end of a long limb catches the wind, often snapping the branch off. Check out this link:

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Tree Planting Instructons

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Shrub and Vine Planting Instructions

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