How NOT to prune a tree 3: Avoid large pruning cuts

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

This tree was struck by lightning and damaged and was threatening to fall on the house, so it had to be removed. It was so large that everyone assumes it was an old tree, but it was less than 30 years old. But seriously, it was the next photo I wanted to show...

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Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

This is a Winesap apple planted by my Great Grandfather circa 1890's.

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Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

The tree has been hollow for at least 50 years. One of the problems with large pruning cuts is that they don't heal, and disease enters through them that can go down through the branch to rot out the trunk.

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Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Looking up into the tree, you can see one of a several large cuts that were made over 50 years ago - that led to the hollow trunk.

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Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

And here is one I did. Originally, I left the branch because I didn't think it would be in the way. I had to take it out when it was larger than it should have been. I did a good job of leaving the branch collar in tact, so it is healing nicely. The problem is that this is a Hackberry, and they are very prone to rot from pruning injuries. So this may still come back to haunt me.

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San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Pollengarden, I have planted 6 fruit trees this year from 18" tall to 8' tall... (and 2 more on the way) If anyone can mess up the pruning, I know I can. I really appreciate your how-NOT-to-do-it but do you know a good site that has how-TO-do-it? I already killed the lovely lime tree with the cold and I dont wanna kill no trees no more! ! !

Thanks~

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

My information on how to plant a tree, and NOT pruning before the roots are established is fairly new, I got it from Master Gardener training last year. Here is my source:
http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotesbynumber.shtml
I used the material under 610 pruning and 630 planting. This is the "Garden Notes" for Master Gardeners, if you go back to the homepage, you can do a search for "Fact Sheets" - the same material summarized for the layman. Our professor said University of Florida has good material, too.
Then about pruning: Go to your library and check out books on pruning. Mark the pages concerning the species of trees you have. Consult them before you go out and prune each tree. Then buy the one that turned out to be the most useful.
Picking out a good tree at the nursery in the first place will save a lot of headaches later. You are buying and paying for the root ball. Make sure you get the largest healthiest one you can for your dollar. Make sure the trunk isn't damaged. Make sure the growth tip is in tact and healthy. After those criteria are met, pick the nicest branching pattern possible, but it is secondary - you can fix the branching pattern if you have to.
Remember, don't prune until the roots are established - gently using spreaders on young trees is okay, try not to damage the bark. And I have killed trees, too. I had a math teacher who said a mistake is a good thing if we learn from it.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Update to an old thread:
1, 2: Half the ancient apple tree finally died of wounds 60 years later.
3: The Hackberry healed over completely - but I would guess there is one of those streaks of dark punky wood down into the trunk

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(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Good advice and great documentation Pollengarden, Thanks for sharing.

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