In a forest, trees tend to grow straight up, stretching for the sunlight above. In an urban setting like Salem, however, a tree doesn’t have to compete for sunlight. Instead, it has full access with minimal competition from nearby trees. Outside of a forest habitat, this can cause a tree to develop a wide crown with large lower branches and limbs. While this may not seem problematic, having a wide crown with large lower limbs can structurally weaken your landscape tree.
As a tree matures, problematic structural defects can develop over time thus increasing safety risks and the potential for property damage. However, if you maintain the stability of a tree, you can reduce this risk. That’s why structural pruning is so important.
Structural pruning aims to preserve the organic integrity of a tree while maintaining its stability. This type of preventative tree care is especially important when it comes to trees located near sidewalks, houses, power lines, etc.
The Dangers Of Structural Defects
When a tree lacks structural integrity, it has the potential for heavy limb breakage and overall tree failure. These types of neglected trees are usually the first to fall during extreme weather.
Trees in an urban setting like Salem, frequently develop structural defects at a young age. This can include a poor crown structure, large lower limbs that dominate the central trunk, weak branch attachments, and more. While these structural defects may seem minor when a tree is young, they can become major hazards as a tree grows.
Large trees support more weight and are more exposed to harsh weather like wind, snow, and heavy rain thus increasing the likelihood of failure. Given the size of a mature tree, it can also be exceedingly more expensive to have it structurally pruned than it would have early on in life. Keep in mind that when a mature tree fails, it has the ability to hurt or even kill people or pets located below while causing damage to your home or property in the process. That’s why it’s so important to pay special attention to the mature trees on your property and the dangerous potential they may pose.
Features Of A Structurally Sound Tree
Reasonable Branch Size
The size of the branches of a tree should always be less than ½ of the diameter of the parent stem at the point of attachment.
Adequate Branch Spacing
Branches should never grow in a tight cluster. Instead, adequate branch spacing will help distribute weight more evenly, thus minimizing stress and the potential for failure.
Strong Branch Unions
A structurally sound tree includes strong branch unions where the trunk wood wraps around the base of a branch. Weak unions that are not strongly attached to a tree can be especially dangerous when a weak union leads to a crack between two main 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.
Structural Pruning & Preventative Tree Care
Starting at a young age, structural pruning and preventative tree care are important when it comes to the development of a strong, stable, and mature tree. Not only will this decrease maintenance costs over time, it reduces the risk of tree and limb failures while ensuring a healthy lifespan.
The first 10 years of trees life is a critical time for correcting structural defects. Structural defects on large, mature trees can be costlier and harder to correct. At a young age, however, problematic limbs can be easily removed without the risk of large open wounds that can attract disease, fungi, and insect infestations.
Structural pruning is also a good investment for Salem homeowners, especially when trees are located near sidewalks, homes, and nearby structures. For these trees, structural pruning is an important strategy for reducing property damage while maintaining the safety of people and pets below.
Westcoast Tree Care
At Westcoast Tree Care, nothing is more important to us than the health and prosperity of your trees. That’s why we offer structural pruning as one of our preventative tree care services. If you would like more information, contact us at 1.800.767.8733. Our certified arborist will take the time to assess the health and stability of every tree on your property and provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation quote.