I hate this time of year! Everywhere you look in Bakersfield, there are trees that have been hacked up by people who have no business owning a chain saw. Many gardeners think that because they are qualified to mow your lawn, they are qualified to prune trees. Nothing could be further from the truth. A qualified person is called an arborist.

A properly pruned tree is an asset that can improve property value. Severely cutting back a tree -- I can't even call it pruning -- is extremely harmful to a tree. In spite of all the wonderful work the Tree Foundation of Kern has done and the support The Californian has given it, improper pruning is getting worse every year.

Trees are planted for many reasons. For some, it is the beautiful fall colors, or wonderful flowers in the spring. Most of all, they provide much needed shade during our hot summers. I will never understand why in a climate that reaches 100-plus degrees in the summer, people continue to cut back trees so harshly it takes half the summer to develop a good canopy.

Next time you are in Sacramento or Pasadena, be sure to notice the large established trees throughout the community. It is nice to know trees are still valued someplace.