Arborist offers tips on proper pruning

First Posted: 4/21/2009

Phillip B. Ray, accredited arborist with Duke Energy, gave a hands-on demonstration for pruning trees yesterday. He described topping trees as one of the most harmful ways of pruning a tree.
Members of the landscaping department for Mount Airy listened to the arborist and inspected some of the disfigured and mutilated cuttings from pruned trees and shrubs. He described a topping from a pruned crepe myrtle as a crepe murdered.
This is just an example that I brought from another city, he told the group. He also mentioned that making cuts between nodes leads to excessive sprouting, and to crack and rot. Crack and rot are major causes of branch and trunk failure.
Ray added that there is an alternative to topping. Sometimes a tree must be reduced in height or spread, such as providing clearance for utility lines. In order to save the tree, branches should be removed back to their point of origin. If a branch must be shortened, it should be cut back to a lateral that is large enough to assume the terminal role. This method of branch reduction helps to preserve the natural form of the tree. Sometimes the best solution is to remove the tree and replace it with a species that is more appropriate for the site.
The speaker noted that trees are an important part of the world. They offer a wide range of benefits to the environment and provide a tremendous beauty. Determining where to plant a tree is decision that should not be taken lightly. When planning what type of tree to plant, remember to look up and look down to determine where the tree will be located in relation to overhead and underground utility lines.
Proper tree selection and placement enhance the homeowners property value and prevent costly maintenance trimming and damage to the home.
Following the classroom session, Ray led a tour of the city hall property and used some pruning techniques that improve the trees.
Contact Eleanor Powell at [email protected] or call 719-1933.

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