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Managing Your Denver Tree Care: Structural Pruning

November 20, 2015

Did you know that you should start pruning a tree from a young age? Most structural defects that occur in older trees can be prevented by pruning a tree when it’s young. The goal of this is to prevent the branches from growing larger than about half the diameter of the trunk. Young trees respond quickly to pruning and cuts leave insignificant wounds when conducted on a regular basis and has many added benefits:
  • Promotes longevity by reducing tree failure
  • Less future maintenance will be required
  • Chances of property damage and personal safety risk are reduced
  • When trees are pruned when they are young, it reduces the need for further pruning when the tree is older and larger. This minimizes the cost of debris removal and disposal
Structural pruning should maintain a single center stem/leader: This means that you should choose a branch as a dominant leader. Smaller branches should be distributed around the trunk both horizontally and vertically by the time they are medium to large at maturity. This ensures that they can support heavy loads that include ice and snow.
Structural changes happen a lot slower than in older trees since their parts are a lot larger and growth has slowed. If trees aren’t structurally pruned in their early to middle years, they are more likely to develop weaknesses. Once a tree reaches maturity, the more important structure becomes since they are must support more weigh and are exposed to larger forces from wind. They can also cause more damage if they fail than young trees.
Not pruning your tree for structure can lead to personal injury or structural damage. During storms, trees with poor structure are most likely to fail and can cause damage, such as knocking out powerlines. Poor pruning and cutting the wrong branches can also cause health and structural problems such as being excessively thinned, raised, toped, or lions-tailed.
When a storm does occur, corrective pruning procedures may be necessary. Safety is the first priority when removing branches from damaged trees. As soon as possible, all loose branches should be removed to eliminate the chance of failure. Other broken or cracked branches should be removed after the loose branches are gone. A branch that was partially stripped of its bark (more than a third of the original circumference of bark) from when an attached branch being torn away, should be removed. Broken, but firmly attached branches that don’t pose an immediate danger of falling can be pruned after the more hazardous branches have been removed. Do not prune or remove more than necessary right after a storm – remove hazards and clean up branches. However, make sure to call your Denver tree care service to assess whether the tree it can be saved or if it’s beyond repair.
Need help with structural pruning your Denver trees? Give American Arbor Care a call, we are here to help you with your tree from when it’s first planted to when it has fully matured.