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Sub-standard pruning

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Unfortunately, the trunk or large-diameter branches are sometimes pruned with heading cuts in order to bring a large tree to a desired size (left photograph). This is called topping and is not recommended because it damages trees permanently. Heading large-diameter branches causes many problems including massive decay in many species, weakly attached sprouts, and many dead branch stubs. Topping occasionally kills trees. If a tree needs regular pruning to keep it small, perhaps the wrong tree was planted in that location. Consider replanting with an appropriately sized plant, or else move the obstacle you were pruning the tree away from and structurally prune to develop strong structure. Heading cuts can be used occasionally when restoring trees following storms, and in other selected instances. Stripping out the small branches and foliage from the interior (lions-tailing) of the crown also damages trees.

Topping (inappropriate reduction) examples: 1 | 2

Lions-tailing (inappropriate thinning) example: 1

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