How to Prune Young Trees – Continued Part 2
Create a Strong Scaffold Structure
You need to establish a good structure of primary branches
when the tree is young. These limbs are called scaffold branches and are the
framework for a mature tree. By properly training your young tree it will
develop a strong structure that will need less pruning when it matures. Your
goal is to train your young trees to create a strong, central trunk that is
sturdy and has branches that are well spaced.
For the majority of young trees, it is important to maintain
a single dominant leader that is growing upward. Never prune back the tip of
the leader and do not allow secondary branches to outgrow the main leader. The
trees secondary branches add to the sturdy, well tapered trunk developing. When
numerous branches are removed it is best if you can retain some, at least
temporarily, to promote trunk diameter growth.
Permanent Selection of Branches
The majority of the branches that are present on your young
trees will be pruned away when the trees are mature to provide clearance for
pedestrians, vehicle traffic, and/or mowing. The height of the lowest permanent
branch is going to be determined by function of the tree and where the tree is
located. The road side of a street tree can be raised to 16 feed to accommodate
traffic. In other situations 8 feet will be sufficient. When trees are used as
wind breaks or screens the branches are generally low to the ground.
It is important to have adequate branch spacing and balance
both radially and vertically. Spacing between permanent branches needs to be
approx 3% of the height the tree will eventually be.
Research has shown wood dressings don’t reduce decay nor do
they speed up wound closures. They also rarely stop disease or insect
infestations. Most arborists and tree care professionals recommend not using
wound dressings. Talk to your local tree care professionals for their advice.