Video | Are Your Trees Safe? Prune to Make them Stronger.

Watch to learn more about how structural pruning is the key to strong, healthy trees.

Here in the forest, trees compete for sunlight, and this means they grow tall, strong, and straight. But if left on their own like this elm tree here, they often over grow and end up hurting themselves in the long run.

The answer is structural pruning.

Hi, I'm Basil, and today we're talking about why we prune. It's the competition here in this forest that forces these trees to grow straight and tall. You'll notice they all have this general structure. They have a central straight trunk and well-balanced branches. This is really important for a tree. It's this ideal structure that helps keep them healthy and prevent breaking.

Structure is strength.

If we take away the forest, then all of a sudden, this lone tree has all of the sunlight it could possibly want, and that means it's going to grow every whichaway and it loses that really important structure that we saw in the forest. So I'll show you a couple of examples here on this elm tree.

First of all, you'll notice that it has two trunks, and between these two trunks, it has this seam. This is something that could very easily separate in a windstorm, especially as the tree gets older. And then if we look up in the canopy, we see all these large overextended branches. It lacks the structure that we saw in the forest and unfortunately for this tree that means that it could split. If that happens, it could cause damage to property, it could hurt somebody, and it would almost certainly be the end of this tree's life.

The solution is structural pruning, and ideally, that begins with a young tree like this oak, but it's important for older trees as well. The idea is that we remove branches to create the structure we're looking for. The process takes many, many years because we can only remove so many branches at any given time, but when it's done, hopefully, we've created a tree that looks much like the ones we saw in the forest. That means a straight central trunk and well-spaced branches.

For us to live side by side with trees in our neighborhoods means that structural pruning is really important. It helps keep trees healthy, prevents them from breaking, and it keeps us safe. And with all the serious issues that are facing our planet today, we need as many healthy trees as we can get.

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