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Structural pruning sugar maple over three years

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Before pruning After the first pruning
Prior to pruning, several low branches were clustered together in the lower crown. This can eventually choke off the leader leading to death of the leader and trunk decay. Two large stems half way up the crown are competing with the leader. Many other smaller branches are growing upright. Stems and branches growing upright were suppressed by reducing them back to smaller lateral branches in the first pruning. Some branches, especially in the lower crown, were removed.

Stems and branches removed in the first pruning

One year after the first pruning

Many stems and branches were removed from the tree during the first pruning. Removed stems ranged from one to three inches in diameter. All photos courtesy Shawn Kister.

  Notice how much growth occurred in the leader by suppressing competing stems in the first year following pruning. The leader dominates the structure more than it did prior to pruning. Click here to see the tree next year.

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