In a forest, a tree typically grows straight up, stretching for the sunlight above a shady canopy. In an urban landscape, however, a tree has full access to the sun with little competition from nearby trees. Apart from the forest, a tree can develop a wide crown with large lower branches and limbs. As an unfortunate side effect, this type of growth pattern can actually weaken the structural integrity of your tree.
Even worse, structural defects can develop at an early age, worsening as your tree matures, posing an ever-increasing risk to people and property below. Maintaining the structural integrity of your tree, however, helps to reduce this risk.
Structural pruning by the certified arborist at Westcoast Tree Care helps to develop and maintain safe, stable trees. This type of preventative tree care service benefits all landscape trees, especially those growing near houses, sidewalks, and parking areas.
Consequences Of Overlooking Structural Pruning
Poor tree structure often results in unwanted damage like limb or branch breakage and can contribute to overall tree failure. Neglected trees are usually the first to fall over during extreme storms, but can be a risk even under the most normal conditions.
In an urban landscape like Salem, Oregon, trees can develop undesirable traits at a very young age. These can include poor crown structure, large, heavy branches that dominate the central stem, weak branch attachments and codominant stems with inclusions. While these problems can seem minor when a tree is young, they can become a hazardous problem as a tree grows.
Large, mature trees support more weight and are exposed to greater forces from extreme weather so poor structure will greatly increase the likelihood of failure. Given the size of a mature tree, it is exceedingly more costly to correct later in life. Plus, when a mature tree does fail, it has the ability to cause much more damage. That’s why it’s important to pay special attention to the trees in your landscape that can potentially pose a dangerous risk to people and property below.
Features Of A Structurally Sound Tree
Single Central Stem
Unless a tree is a multi-stemmed species, a single stem should be maintained for approximately half of the height of a mature tree.
Reasonable Branch Size
When it comes to size, all branches and leaders should be less than ½ the diameter of parent stem at the point of attachment.
Adequate Branch Spacing
In a structurally sound tree, branches are not clustered closely together. Rather all branches are distributed radially around the stem to distribute weight evenly and minimize stress.
Strong Branch Attachments
A structurally sound tree has strong unions where the trunk wood wraps around the base of its branches. When bark becomes embedded or squeezed, the union attachment will become weaker. Inclusions such as these pose a greater risk, especially on large, long branches.
Good Foliage Distribution
Foliage should be evenly distributed to help a tree hold its ground better. Properly pruned branches have an even distribution of foliage along the entire length of a branch, making a tree less likely to break or fall over.
Westcoast Tree Care
Starting at a young age, structural pruning techniques can help with the development of a tree as it matures. This type of pruning service will also help to decrease maintenance costs over time while reducing tree and limb failure to ensure a tree lives longer.
For trees in an urban landscape like Salem, Oregon, structural pruning is a sound, safe investment. When it comes to trees near houses, walkways, parking areas or other nearby buildings, it’s more than just an investment. For these trees, structural pruning is essential when it comes to minimizing risk and maintaining the safety of people and property below.
If you would like more information, contact Westcoast Tree Care at 1.800.767.8733. Our certified arborist would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have while providing you with a no-cost, no-obligation quote for any of our preventative tree care services.