Mr. B told me he had concerns about his big silver maple. It had a big leader that grew toward his house, and another over the neighbor’s yard. He wondered if we could make it less threatening. He even asked if I’d suggest topping it.
I went to see the tree, and his neighborhood was marred with many examples of bad pruning, like this “topped” silver maple a few houses away.
Maybe that’s where he got the “topping” idea. Anyway, I explained to him why topping would be counterproductive to his goal of keeping the tree safe and healthy. (see April 2, 2010 if you want to read more about THAT). Then I described how I could reduce those leaders by 25% without making any heading (topping) (internodal) cuts. Mr. B liked that suggestion, so that is what we did.
Here’s the tree when we were setting up the climbing ropes:
We pruned a LOT of wood from this tree – those leaders were reduced by at least ¼. But the type of pruning wounds we made are not significant injuries. The tree will compartmentalize them way better than if they’d been heading cuts. And there are plenty of auxin (plant hormone) producing tips left in place to inhibit excessive re-sprouting.
Elaine, from Oaks, called me the week before Christmas to ask if I could prune her two cryptomeria (Japanese cedar) trees. Both trees, and an arborvita, were very close to the house, with branches rubbing on the roof and gutters. Nice old house. Nice old trees. Although the both cryptomeria had a lot of dead branches, possibly an indication of past health struggles, they were in stable condition and did not seem to be facing imminent decline. And they add a lot to the curb appeal of the house (in my tree-biased opinion!)
We pruned them away from the roof, cleared out the dead wood, and gave them a good inspection to make sure they were not hosting and Japanese cedar longhorn beetles, ANOTHER imported pest new to our area. (They were clean of pests – just a few sapsucker holes near the top).
A beautiful clear-blue December sky helped me get these nice before-and-after photos of the pruning job!