Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Backyard Woods - Pruning - Why Should I?

Why should I prune?
Safety, tree health, aesthetics, and value are the primary reasons for pruning trees.
A single pruning can accomplish more than one objective and save time.
Pruning for safety removes branches that could fall and cause personal injury or property damage. Removing low branches in fire-prone areas can prevent a ground fire from climbing into the tops (crowns) of the trees.
Tree health
Pruning for tree health removes diseased or insect-infested wood, thins the crown to increase airflow and reduce some pest problems, and removes crossing and rubbing branches. Removing broken or damaged limbs encourages wound closure and prevents diseases from entering the tree. Pruning encourages trees to develop a strong structure and reduces the likelihood of damage during severe weather.
Removing lower limbs to improve visibility in your woods and to stimulate flower production are primary reasons to prune for aesthetics. Pruning also increases the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground, stimulating growth of wildflowers and flowering shrubs.
Pruning for value increases the amount of high value wood products produced on individual trees. Pruning preferred trees produces knot-free wood. A knot is the portion of a branch that becomes incorporated within the trunk of the tree. Knots are the primary reason for reduction in lumber value.

Trees are pruned in public and private forests to increase tree value. Pruning is the forester’s "value added" effort, because it produces higher quality boards and veneer. Pruning is time consuming and, therefore, expensive. Foresters select only the highest value tree species on the best growing sites for pruning. They only prune trees selected for harvest. Finally, they keep good records on pruned trees so they can be marketed for the value obtained by pruning.
Although pruning is done primarily to enhance tree value, it can fulfill other objectives. Pruning in large forests increases fire resistance by removing lower branches that spread fire to tops of trees. Pruning improves walking access into dense tree stands. Pruning also lessens the impact of blister rust in young white pine stands.

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