Young tree training

2003 Pruning, Not Just a Haircut

So many of us feel good after getting a good haircut, but if we get a bad one our hair will grow out again and we will have another chance. Or if we haven't gotten one and our hair has grown longer, we can go later and all can be repaired. Not so with trees and pruning.

Pruning a tree influences the way a tree grows. The tree can be shaped to be well balanced, allowing for sunlight and air movement through the tree, giving it structural integrity. Quality pruning can improve a tree or woody shrubs' health and its ability to fruit and flower. Therefore, our Landscape Plan for Kendal includes a comprehensive life-cycle pruning program. Formative pruning which shapes our newly planted young trees in the first ten years of their lives is of prime importance as it can increase strength and longevity.pruning

Our trees also need maintenance pruning which prunes out dead and diseased limbs. Damaged limbs which are susceptible to diseases and insects can be cut off cleanly in a way that allows for the tree to heal. Removing these branches will prevent further decay. If this is not done in a timely manner, there often is not a good solution. One major problem we have from the past is that our trees did not get the needed care, and many of these cannot be revitalized because the tree was not able to seal off the problem area, or compartmentalize it. We have many middle-aged trees here in our arboretum which are not in the best of health. We want to make sure that does not happen to so many in the future.

A third type is clearance pruning, not necessarily done for the health of the tree, but to keep us safe on our walkways and reduce potential damage to our structures here at Kendal.

So, when you look out from your room and see branches being taken from "your" tree outside your window by our trained, capable staff, suppress the immediately reaction that they are hurting your tree and that you only liked it just the way it was, and know that this pruning is to enable that tree to grow into a beautiful strong tree well into old age, fix the tree's health problem or to keep us safe. And don't we all wish for that!

Anne Helm for the Arboretum Committee

Many of us at Kendal have taken Alan Siewert's tree pruning class. He bases his class on the teachings of  Larry Costello. Click here to view an informative video illustrating the elements for pruning young trees, known as young tree training.