Recent writings have sought to entrench old myths about branch reduction; for example, the “1/3 Rule” is often presented as a universal and absolute guideline for branch reduction.
But should this be the status quo? Guy Meilleur, who will be presenting “Retrenching: Living with a Hollow Heart” at TCI EXPO 2013, challenges the misconceptions about tree topping techniques, and argues that Crown Reduction/Retrenchment is an alternative, responsible risk management technique.
Why? Trees with interior trunk decay can be saved with proper care, and can even be coaxed into rejuvenating their inner crown through retrenching pruning!
Let’s take a look at a chart that compares the Retrenchment method against the popular “Tree Topping” strategy:
Retains enough foliage to maintain tree health
Removes too much foliage, starving the tree
Releases gradual sprouting from interior nodes
Forces panic sprouting internodally or near wounds
Endocormic growth from dormant (preexisting) buds is well attached, with buttressing at base of sprouts
Epicormic growth from adventitious (newly formed) buds is weakly attached, with no buttressing
Smaller wounds where tree can compartmentalize
Large wounds at poor locations, causing rapid decay
Clearly, Crown Reduction or Retrenchment is the way to go! Still, old myths die hard, which is unfortunate because the costs of embracing them include confusion, over-pruning, and the loss of tree assets. The benefits of applying the right guidelines to the right trees include sustainable tree assets, and sustainable tree services aimed at tree preservation.
To learn how to incorporate this new risk management technique into your tree care business, come see Guy Meilleur present “Retrenching: Living with a Hollow Heart” at TCI EXPO next month in Charlotte, North Carolina.
About the Author
This guest post was authored by Guy Meilleur. Guy Meilleur is a BCMA and a Municipal, Utility and Tree Climbing Specialist. Guy has spent 48 years in commercial arboriculture, and was formally a staff arborist at University of North Carolina and an instructor at Duke University.
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Learn more about the educational sessions offered at TCI EXPO 2013 at www.expo.tcia.org.