For Pedro Perez, caring for trees comes with caring for the community. He’s known as “The Hood Arborist,” and his work with trees goes beyond aesthetic purposes.

The air quality is worse here, the ambient temperatures are higher here, said Perez, referring to the quality of life on the southside of Tucson.

With several busy highways passing through southside neighborhoods, the area sees more pollution. The lack of shade in the area also adds to the urban heat island effect.

I just feel like, especially in Southside Tucson, trees play an important role in the urban environment, they shade us, they cool the surrounding areas they provide habitat for wildlife, and in some cases even food for us as well, he said.

Perez grew up on the southside, and now he hopes to give back to his community. That’s why he wants people in Tucson, especially people on the southside and in South Tucson, to know why right now is the best time for tree pruning.

He said there are many advantages to pruning trees during the winter months. Pests are generally dormant during this time of year so theres less of a chance of spreading of infection or pest attack on the pruning wounds, he said.

It also has to do with some species of trees being dormant during this time of year as well. He used mesquite trees as an example because the sap can get messy when the trees are not dormant. There are also advantages to the leaves falling off trees.

“We can really get a look at the structure, we can really look at the branches and the tree in order to really guide our approach to pruning,” said Perez.

So what happens when trees aren’t properly pruned? Well, Perez said it can shorten the life span of trees. In order to get the most out of trees, they have to live long enough to become carbon neutral.

That might not happen until the tree is mature, which might be 20-30 years until we start seeing that benefit. If trees are only living 15 years in the city, whats the point in that?

That’s why it’s important to build a healthy urban forest, especially on the southside of Tucson and in South Tucson.

Anyone looking to prune their trees can do so easily with smaller trees, but Perez said it’s important they know how to do so correctly. With larger trees, he recommends having a professional take care of the pruning process.

To follow Pedro Perez, “The Hood Arborist,” and his work, visit