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CIR853: Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs

Figure 3. Reduce the length of (subordinate) leader a using a reduction cut to encourage leader b to grow faster. Remove leader c back to the trunk. After pruning, the tip of leader b should be much higher than the tops of all other stems. This technique will help leader b become the dominant trunk by slowing growth on competing leaders and allowing more sunlight to reach b. In most cases on large-maturing trees, branches in the lower 15 to 20 feet of the tree should be kept smaller than half the trunk diameter using this technique. Those same branches should not be allowed to grow up into the tree to become a permanent part of the canopy. Notice that branches are spaced along the trunk.