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Windowing vs. Thinning: Pruning Trees for a Better View

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When fast-growing trees grow faster than you wish and start to block your view of something beautiful, you do have the ability to open up the view. Unfortunately, most people think the only option is to remove the tree, or worse, top the tree, which can ruin the shape of the canopy over the next year. There are other options that open up the view but leave the tree in place. Windowing and thinning are two such options, and they are appropriate in different situations.

Thinning Will Look Less Scraggly

Thinning involves removing branches in the canopy with relatively even spacing, leaving a neat silhouette. You're not necessarily removing large branches, but you're removing enough that the canopy of the tree becomes a little easier to see through. If you just want a general view that isn't blocked and don't mind looking through branches to see that view, thinning could be the better choice. This is good for when the views are of things like sunsets or the landscape in general.

Windowing Is Best for Unobstructed Views

Windowing is when various branches are cut away, creating "windows" along the sides of the tree at various points. Windowing can make a tree look rather odd, but it is the modification of choice if you need to see something clearly, such as a specific mountain or cityscape. It's also necessary when the branch is brushing up against something like a powerline. The problem with windowing is that it makes the tree scraggly and incomplete, especially if done poorly. It's essential that you have a professional tree company or arborist trim and prune the tree as they'll be better judges of which branches should really be removed. The resulting tree will be sleek and healthy, and your view will open up.

What About Interlimbing?

Interlimbing is just the conifer version of thinning. Branches within the canopy of the conifer are removed in an alternating pattern up the tree. If the branches are big enough, removing them could create gaps similar to those that occur after windowing.

Keep in mind that in Australia, many trees have a protected status that prohibits changing them drastically without permission from the local council. It's best to hire a tree company to handle any major pruning because the company will know which trees should not be cut or thinned without permission. They will also guide you through the process of permitting and removal.

For more information on tree pruning, contact a professional near you.