another pruning question

c2g(6)March 18, 2013

Always hesitant to prune, especially because I'm not experienced with it. A landscape architect was at my property recently discussing another matter when he noticed my white oak. He suggested taking off two branches so I don't end up with codominant leaders. The only problem is I don't remember which two.

Figured I'd run it by the experts here to get a second opinion. Although I tend to leave things grow as they please, I'd like to tackle this now if it's something obvious.

Here's the link


Here is a link that might be useful: white oak

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

its very hard to understand .... from your pix.. which is the straighter.. in ALL PLANES OF VIEW ....

i would look at it from the east.. pic one.. from the west.. from the north.. etc.. and simply determine which is the straighter in regard to the lower trunk ..

regardless.. when that trunk is a foot thick.. it wont matter which you choose .....

i do see power lines behind.. now is the time.. to start lifting the canopy .... to get above those ... if they are as close as the pix make it seem ....


    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Depending on how high that "Y" is I may cut the one that is at more of an angle to the horizontal than the other.

If this "Y" is 15 or more feet from the ground I may not touch it.

If it is 5 to 8 feet, I would probably cut it of.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:38PM
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I'm not sure I'd touch it either. White oaks have a decurrent growth habit, meaning they are of the type of trees that do not develop a single leader (most shade trees are included in this classification). While competing "leaders" is not really an issue, the joints between them can be. The proper terminology is 'codominate trunks'. Not sure I can see clearly enough in the photos to make that kind of determination. Codominate trunks do pose a risk for snow and storm damage and should be addressed at a fairly early age.

Do some research on structural training for decurrent shade trees - it will help you make some accurate pruning decisions.

Here is a link that might be useful: structural training of young shade trees

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 4:08PM
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I agree that oaks generally don't require much in the way of structural corrective pruning. But having said that, it at least looks-from the pics-like there is a tendency for codominant stems there, c2g. However, no need to do complete branch removal. Instead, select the one you wish to be the main leader and shorten up the other one(s) by cutting them back to some outward-facing branchlet. This is called subordination pruning and is the basis for helping open-grown trees to behave more like thier forest brethren for a time, with primarily one main lead stem.

None of this precludes your "raising up" which is simply removing lower branches for clearance, etc. Do this gradually though, a branch or two this year, a branch or two next year. And observe proper pruning methodology-remove most of the weight of the branches to be removed first, then make the final cut right at the outermost point of the swollen area known as the branch collar.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:16PM
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