119 Concord Place
Syracuse, New York
Phone/Fax: 315-471-5854

Special Topics

Your Tree May Be in Trouble If . . .

Branches Are Too Close Together

Well-spaced branches on young trees will result in a mature tree with fewer maintenance issues.A well-formed tree is characterized by branches that are spaced uniformly both along and around a sturdy trunk, at right. This habit insures that relatively long, uninterrupted columns of wood fibers will run the length of the trunk, imparting maximum strength to the tree.

This property is perfectly illustrated by the strong, uninterrupted wood fibers of a baseball bat.

Clusters of branches emerging from the same spot on a tree's trunk will result in a weak spot that may fail during a storm.However, when a tree trunk grows around numerous, close-spaced branches, at left, the columns of wood fibers are interrupted and large seams of bark may be imbedded within the trunk. This often results in a weak spot where a tree may snap during severe weather, below right.

To prevent this scenario, it's very important to perform corrective pruning on young trees to establish a well-spaced branch arrangement. This pruning task will generally take less than ten minutes and can usually be completed from the ground with nothing more than sharp hand and pole pruners.

The trunk of this littleleaf linden was so constricted by a cluster of emerging branches that it blew apart during a summer thunderstorm.In fact, if you'd like to learn how to prune young trees correctly and, in turn, help your community's urban forest grow strong, consider joining the Cornell Cooperative Extension - Onondaga County's "Communitree Steward" program.