Tree Trimming and Cabling
Trees often are a desired part of the landscape around our homes. They provide protection from the sun, wind, and weather. They bring character to our yards, gardens, and landscapes. In most cases, properly placed trees bring value, and beauty to the properties they grow on. Trees are Phototrophic Organisms which means they grow towards a light source, in most cases, the sun. While this is the normal healthy growth pattern of a tree it can sometimes be problematic.
For ornamental trees (ie Dogwood, Cherry, Red Bud, Crape Myrtle, Zelkova, Japanese Maple, Purple Plum, etc) that are planted in smaller areas such as gardens, patios, etc, Phototropism can cause a tree to grow in an undesired, unsafe, or inconvenient direction. This can be remedied by trimming the tree to help create a growth pattern more conducive to the tree’s environment. For small trees that have been planted in the last 5 years, Structural Pruning can make an impact on how long the tree will live. Structural pruning helps direct branch growth, creates a dominant main stem (tree trunk), and allows for trimming trees to fit a practical limitation (such as a small space) without harming the health of the tree. Many issues with mature trees in Urban Landscapes could be avoided if the tree had been properly structural pruned within the first 5 years of planting.
As the tree continues to grow, branch thinning, and removing deadwood will keep it healthy and alive. Removing excess branches helps wind to blow through the trees canopy instead of against it which helps to prevent limbs from breaking in weather events. Removing dead branches helps to keep decaying branch wood from introducing that decay into the main trunk of the tree. A properly made pruning cut made just outside of the tree’s Branch Collar will allow the tree to defend itself against decay and will seal off the ‘wound’ left from pruning.
For larger species of trees ( White Oak, Chestnut Oak, Red Oak, Hickory, Maple, Poplar, etc.) that are in a woods or yard setting, Phototropism can create concerns for both the health of the tree, as well as the safety of those living around them.
Typically trees on the edge of a yard will grow towards the house due to them reaching out for sunlight. This can be handled by trimming off branches when possible however care must be taken not to trim too much off of the tree. Trees need branches for photosynthesis to occur, to protect against sun scorch, and to help keep the tree balanced among other things. When trimming is not able to eliminate the risk of property damage or structural damage to the tree, Cabling or Bracing can be used as an effective alternative. Cabling utilizes high-strength cables to help limit the motion of large branches and more importantly, branch unions. Large Branch or Trunk unions are natural weak points on trees due to the wood structure created by two limbs joining together creating somewhat of a ”seam”. During snow, ice, or wind storms the branches translate stress down to the Union which is when they normally fail. Oftentimes when a Branch Union fails the rest of the tree will fail or should be removed. Cabling is a great way to limit the movement of branches and tree trunks to help avoid major breaks and keep your trees and home safe.
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