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Structural pruning on mature trees

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Pruning mature and over-mature trees  
Branches marked with a 1 or a 2 in the illustration should be removed only after all other possibiities have been considered. Removing large primary branches (those marked with a 1 can result in large pruning wounds; presence of small primary branches often indicates response to injury or old age. Retaining these small branches can promote long life and faster recovery from injury. Focusing on branches marked with a 3, 4, or 5 (i.e. the small diameter branches toward the periphery of the crown) results in smaller pruning wounds. In many cases, pruning in this part of the crown provides enough reduction in sail area and stress on the parent branch to significantly improve structure.

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