Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved
Pruning large trees can be difficult and dangerous work. Never climb into trees with chain saws nor try to operate such saws from the top of ladders. Leave damage to large trees to professionals with the proper equipment and training.
Never attempt any pruning where trees interfere with power lines. Refer such problems immediately to your local utility. Each year people are killed while trying to prune power lines.
Even when personal injury does not result, there is often serious financial loss when amateur pruners drop limbs onto the wires. These wires must then be repaired or replace often at considerable expense. You, as the pruner, are liable for such damages.
Split limbs or trunks on small trees can be repaired if the damage if caught in time. Never try to wrap ropes or wires or anything around the limbs or trunks as they will girdle the plants and kill them. The best method is to pull the damaged branches back together and align them as closely as possible. Drill holes clear through the branches and insert threaded rods or bolts through the holes. Put washers and nuts on each end and tighten them to pull the branches back together. the bolts are left in place permanently and the trees will grow over the metal. Larger branches are often braced with steel cables but as with all larger trees the job is best left to professionals.
The most serious damage is on fast-growing trees. These generally have weak wood and often develop a poor branch structure.
Trees that showed the most damage are Siberian Elms. Their normal growth has many large branches coming from one point on the trunk. When these break, it often destroys the entire tree.
Cottonwoods and poplars are also very susceptible as are most willows. Although quaking aspen and Lombardy popular have weak wood, they show fewer problems because of their narrow upright shape.
Bradford pears are also easily damaged because they have many branches coming out from the same point on the trunk. The newer cultivars of the flowering pears show fewer problems because they have a stronger branch structure.
Norway Maple and London Plane trees are less susceptible to damage. These trees are likely to be damaged if they are improperly pruned or trained. Trees that are least likely to be damaged include oaks, gingkos, honey locusts and upright conifers.
Tree Of Heaven
London Plane Tree