Tree Pruning For Beginners – June 2019: Part 2

All woody plants shed branches in response to shading and competition. Branches that do not produce enough carbohydrates from photosynthesis to sustain themselves die and are eventually shed; the resulting wounds are sealed by woundwood (callus). Branches that are poorly attached may be broken off by wind and accumulation of snow and ice.

Branches removed by such natural forces often result in large, ragged wounds that rarely seal. Pruning as a cultural practice can be used to supplement or replace these natural processes and increase the strength and longevity of plants.

Trees have many forms, but the most common types are pyramidal (excurrent) or spherical (decurrent). Trees with pyramidal crowns, e.g., most conifers, have a strong central stem and lateral branches that are more or less horizontal and do not compete with the central stem for dominance. Trees with spherical crowns, e.g., most hardwoods, have many lateral branches that may compete for dominance.

To reduce the need for pruning it is best to consider a tree’s natural form. It is very difficult to impose an unnatural form on a tree without a commitment to constant maintenance.

Pollarding and topiary are extreme examples of pruning to create a desired, unnatural effect. Pollarding is the practice of pruning trees annually to remove all new growth. The following year, a profusion of new branches is produced at the ends of the branches. Topiary involves pruning trees and shrubs into geometric or animal shapes. 

Both pollarding and topiary are specialized applications that involve pruning to change the natural form of trees. As topiary demonstrates, given enough care and attention plants can be pruned into nearly any form. Yet just as proper pruning can enhance the form or character of plants, improper pruning can destroy it.

Using Top Tree LLC

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