Understanding Structural Pruning and its Purpose

by / Friday, 19 January 2018 / Published in Blog

There are significant differences between trees growing in the forest versus those that grow on your property. For example, a tree that grows in the forest has a single stem growing up through the shade of the canopy to reach sunlight. On the other hand, a tree that’s growing on your property usually stands alone and not in close proximity to any other trees you have.

Therefore, it doesn’t have to compete as much for the sunlight it requires with any other trees growing on your property. However, it will develop a much wider crown with larger branches and many smaller limbs growing below it. These features can contribute to the structural weakening of a tree and should always be addressed by a reputable tree pruning specialists, whenever possible.

Purpose of Structural Pruning

The purpose of structural pruning is to develop a stronger tree structure. This should be performed on a regular basis until the trunk has reached a diameter of 20 to 24 inches. It encourages fuller, stronger growth and promotes better tree health in the process. Most importantly, structural pruning decreases future tree maintenance expense, promotes growth and longevity, and reduces the potential risk of harm to other people and your property.

Structural Pruning Strategies

There are 6 primary structural pruning strategies that tree trimming specialists in San Jose or Palo Alto practice, especially on those commercial or residential properties surrounded by dense tree growth:

• Determine and maintain the dominant or leading tree
• Identify the lowest hanging branches and limbs beneath the canopy
• Keep all branches smaller than half the size of the trunk’s diameter
• Prevent larger and upright branch growth beneath the canopy
• Properly space the main branches of the dominant trunk
• Suppress branch growth where bark inclusions are present

Remember, structural pruning helps promote tree stability and benefit a wide range of landscape trees. However, this is a must-do task for trees that grow in close proximity to buildings, over parking areas, and near sidewalks or walkways. Overhanging foliage or branches can be difficult to maneuver by pedestrians.

Furthermore, there are consequences that could result from a lack of structural pruning. For instance, it could result in the breakage of major branches and contribute to the overall failure of the tree. These types of trees are typically the first ones that fall or suffer irreversible damage during periods of stormy weather. But even under normal conditions, a tree could be predisposed to failure by the lack of structural pruning. That is why it is important to work with an expert service that understands all aspects of tree pruning and care. It is important that the company that you pick has an arborist on board so that they can evaluate clearly and execute the pruning.

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