Specialty Pruning

December 12, 2018

Specialty Pruning

Architectural Pruning

Objectives:

Control size and maintain a specific artificial form.

Trees will be sheared with hedge trimmers into the desired geometric form. Major size reductions are not recommended if this type of pruning has been established. Over-pruning may result in the death of the tree or the appearance of brown/dead patches. Changes to the shape must be made gradually over several years.

Converting the canopy of a tree with a natural form into a formal geometric shape takes several years (or more, depending on the species) and should begin when the trees are young. Trees which undergo this type of pruning are more prone to diseases, insect infestations, and require annual pruning to maintain their appearance. It is usually impossible to revert them back to a natural form.

This pruning method is not recommended as a means of risk reduction for mature trees. If controlling size is the primary objective, it is more cost effective to remove the tree and replace it with a smaller tree species or a large shrub. Architectural pruning is expensive to maintain and should be chosen for aesthetic reasons.

Pollarding

Objectives:

Establish & maintain pollarded tree form.

Pollarding is a European pruning technique. It uses heading cuts to severely reduce all the natural stems and branches on a tree, inducing them to produce numerous shoots/watersrprouts. These shoots are then removed individually each year without cutting into the parent stem. This allows the original heading cut to heal, and a calloused pollard head will develop. Unlike topping, which is done to mature trees and leaves large wounds & stubs which can’t heal properly, the pollarding process allows the tree to heal and is begun on established but young trees.

Procedure:

Establishment: During the dormant season, cut scaffold branches and trunk of the subject tree back to predetermined locations, allowing for 2-6 ft of annual growth depending on the species. The tree will look bare at this point.

Maintenance – remove all growth annually or bi-annually during the dormant season. Do not cut into or beneath Pollard heads when removing new shoots.

Restoration Pruning

Trees which have been topped or damaged in a storm often have out of control sprouting, decaying wounds, and disfigured tree crowns which require special care. In addition to being aesthetically detractive, these issues can become a safety concern if they aren’t managed properly.

Restoration pruning aims to clean up damaged areas, control sprouting, re-shape the canopy, and restore sound structure to previously topped or storm damaged trees. We begin by removing dead, damaged or diseased branches; thin clusters of shoots/stems emerging from damaged area; trim torn/broken bark or trunk wood; reduce or remove branches for current clearance requirements; select and train new stems and branches to re-grow the canopy; and reduce or thin undamaged portions of the tree crown for balance.

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