Properly Pruning: Part 6: Reducing The Crown – February 2019

It’s just about March which means Spring is almost here. In the Tri-Cities, Springtime is the “windy season”. If you have tall trees on or around your property, you will want to be mindful of how to properly thin your trees to keep them safe in blustery conditions. Let’s continue with our series on “all things pruning”.

Reducing the Crown
Reducing crown size places stress on a tree because many cuts are required. Although reduction cuts are preferred when reducing crown size, heading cuts are sometimes necessary. Reduction can lead to dead bark on top of retained branches from sudden sun exposure; this is very damaging to trees. For these reasons, it is best not to reduce the entire crown if at all possible, especially on mature trees. However, reduction is a useful pruning method which has many applications, especially when applied to selected portions of the crown for specific objectives. For example, it is a useful means of retaining very old trees. Trees have endured crown reduction since arriving on the planet having been reduced in size as they break in storms.

The objective is to make reduction cuts so lateral branch tips remain intact on the outer edge of the new, smaller crown. Ideally, pruning cuts should be hidden and the crown periphery should look a bit jagged. Resist the temptation to create a smooth crown outline by pruning retained lateral branches because these are destined to become the main branches on the new, smaller crown. Heading, shearing, tipping, lopping, or rounding-over are considered substandard techniques for reducing the size of a shade tree because they compromise the tree’s structure. If more than twenty-five or thirty percent of the foliage will be removed on anything but a young tree, consider dividing the job into two sessions, one growing season apart, to minimize starch energy removal and stress-induced sprouting.

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Top Tree LLC is your best choice for any tree removal needs in Benton City. All of our technicians are highly trained and properly certified. We are happy to answer any questions you have now or in the future.