Sometimes in the course of my travels something catches my eye and I am compelled to pull over and snap a picture. This is one of those things.
Somebody stripped out all the inside branches of this pin oak!
This is unfortunately a pretty common malpractice – the ignorant tree pruner sometimes claims to the unsuspecting tree owner that “thinning” the tree will let wind through and lessen the chance of storm breakage, and they do THIS. But this is not thinning – the name for it is LIONSTAILING. It doesn’t achieve the effect claimed because all the leaf surface area is now at the end of the branch where the wind force has the most leverage on the branch, instead of evenly distributed as “nature intended” (as evolution perfected).
And then, all that light let in on the previously shaded bark causes the tree to waste valuable stored energy putting out sprouts, and it can’t make the needed amount of food (sugar) (energy) because of the reduced amount of foliage. This could likely be the beginning of the irreversible decline of the health of this mature tree. What a shame.
Actual thinning is not harmful, it can be good. It takes skill to get out to the ends of the branches where the thinning cuts need to be. And if the cuts are made correctly, according to ANSI standards and using the 3 to 1 rule, you probably won’t even notice it was pruned if you are driving by.