At Leaf & Limb, we purposefully approach all pruning jobs with a goal and this question in mind:
How will we retain the long-term beauty AND health of your tree or shrub?
The AND is the key word. Yes, part of why we prune is to trim a tree into a more aesthetically pleasing shape, but it is also essential to consider the tree’s health.
Specifically, structural pruning is one of the best ways to promote the health of your tree.
How does structural pruning make your trees healthier?
Because structure is strength.
In the forest, trees compete for space. They grow so close together, and the ones that thrive are the ones with strong central trunks and compact crowns. They search for the sun by growing one way: up.
In the urban environment, trees don’t have the same restrictions. Trees are planted with a calculated amount of space between each plant. They have lots and lots of space to take up. They search for the sun by doing precisely that, taking up space. And while this might be awe-inspiring, it also can be dangerous to people, property, and the tree itself.
Tree sprawl that has not been contained by structural pruning can cause a variety of problems, including:
- Long, arching branches These can extend over walkways, houses, and other structures where they are able to take up lots of space. Sometimes these branches become too big to support themselves, causing them to crack or fall on the structures below.
- Forked trunk instead of one central trunk A divided trunk is more likely to split. Not only will this potentially cause damage to people and property, but it will also surely kill the tree.
- Over-sized branches Branches that are over 50% of the diameter of the trunk are more likely to break because they have a weaker connection. Because these branches can grow so large, they are also very dangerous when they fall.
The good news is that all of this can be prevented with structural pruning.
It is essential to prune regularly, ideally starting when the tree is young. Trying to correct structural issues in large, established trees can take years, but it can be done.
Structural pruning helps trees establish a strong central trunk, balances the crown, and prevents splitting. Remember: structure is strength. That strength means that trees are safer and healthier. With all the serious issues that are facing our planet today, we need as many healthy trees as we can get.
If you have any questions about structural pruning or want to know how our Treecologists use pruning to keep trees healthy, send us a message.