Return to the Trees Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Heights of lowest branches

Posted by four 9B (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 12:43

Oaks, maples, any such.
Assume 5' tree, lowest branches 2.5' (at trunk),
and that those same branches will remain forever.
Do we expect lowest branches' final height to be
approx 2.5' ?

If significantly higher, then I need to know more.
Objective is lowest branches finally at 4';
and I do not know which branches to leave
on little trees in order to achieve it.

I want to remove unnecessary low branches very early ,
because I have discovered the amazing boost
to young tree growth.
Conversely, I want to leave low branches that
are destined to be at 4'.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

While I have no facts I do not believe a branch on that young of tree will stay at 4' above the ground as the tree grows.

As the tree grows keep it trimmed to look like a tree. When it is small you do not want to cut off every branch except the top two. Neither do you want the tree to have branches on the ground. Trim it as the tree wants not what you want. Remember that it will be 10 to 20 years before any branch becomes a REAL problem.

I do know that if you trim it too severely the trunk will not develop the size to be able to support the tree and you will have to support it.


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

tree trunks widen.. they do not elongate.. and drag branches higher ...

you prune them .... to the height you want them.. and they heal ...

being 5 foot 8.. i prefer 6 feet .. but having friends over 6 feet.. i prune to about 7 feet or higher.. if branches droop ...

you can grow them all as bushes .. if that is what you want..

otherwise.. you and your pruning saw are in charge of height at the bottom.. and GOD at the top ...

i dont understand how knuttle said what he means.. lol .. they will not rise with age.. but many trees will shade out and self prune lower branches ...

its all up to you..

and if you want specific suggestions on how to prune.. learn to post pic.. upright .. lol.. and we can give you some guidance ...

ken


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

"Assume 5' tree, lowest branches 2.5' (at trunk), and that those same branches will remain forever. Do we expect lowest branches' final height to be approx 2.5' ?"

That is correct. The center of the branch will remain at the same height from ground level (assuming ground level doesn't change for some reason).

"I want to remove unnecessary low branches very early, because I have discovered the amazing boost to young tree growth."

As Knuttle indicated in his/her last paragraph, removing the lower branches too early is often detrimental to the tree. I would advise you to almost never limb a tree up to a level higher than 1/3 of the tree's current height. Leaving the lower branches results in a much stronger, healthier, and better formed tree.
__________

"tree trunks widen.. they do not elongate.."

What Ken meant to say is that they don't stretch. They DO elongate, as they grow from their tip.


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

Thanks to respondents for telling me the information that I sought;
also for deterring me from bad actions.

I will adopt as a guideline: "almost never limb a tree up to a level higher than 1/3"


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

Do we expect lowest branches' final height to be
approx 2.5' ?

Yes.


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

they might APPEAR to not be at 2.5 feet ... when they thicken..

say in 100 years.. when that branch is now two foot thick.. the center will still be at 2.5 feet ... but it will appear to be much lower due to width ...

can i ask.. why do you want them so low????

ken


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

>> why do you want them so low

2.5' so low? No, the hypothetical "forever" was to frame the introductory question.
4' so low? To have foliage at that level.


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

With live oaks, the branches tend to drop lower than whatever height they leave the trunk at. It is entirely possible to end up with foliage at 4' even tho the branch leaves the trunk at 6'. We need to trim up the branches annually at the ends to keep them at certain heights. The Shumard Oak has not been as much trouble but it is much younger tree.

Use a different formula than brandon7, but with similar results : aim to remove about 15% of trees total foliage in a year, with 25% being the max in a single year when limbing up.

My ultimate aim is similar to ken's, 6-7' clearance under a tree
so you can walk under it. Even have this goal for the conifers tho I like them with foliage all the way to the ground. After watching a grass fire climb up a red cedar (18') in 2011 that had foliage all the way to ground in only 2-3 minutes, I am in the process of limbing all of them up to 6-7' level in effort to improve their fire resistance.


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

"...aim to remove about 15% of trees total foliage in a year..."

The amount of foliage you remove is a different subject than tree form (which is what we were talking about). You may want to consider not removing more than a maximum of 25% to 33% of the foliage per year, while you are pruning, but that consideration doesn't substitute for not limbing a tree up more than the lower 1/3 of the trunk. Going further creates an artificial lolly-pop looking tree and can result in a less than sturdy trunk.

The percentage of foliage you remove has to do with keeping the plant healthy. The way you prune has to do with aesthetics.


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

> Posted by scotjute
> branches tend to drop

Yes, good point.

Various counter-measures that I take:
- shorten, as you stated
- lighten limb by reduction of branches
- vertical pole lift, ground to limb
- vertical pole lift, lower bigger limb to higher smaller limb
- rope lift, higher limb to lower limb
- horizontal pole support, over-under-over limbs
- overlapping redirection of branches


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

One other thing to keep in mind - the tree will caliper faster and be stronger in the long run if you don't trim up more than 1/3 of the total height. As the tree grows taller, you can remove more lower branches until you reach the ones that you want to keep as your permanent lower branches.


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

brandon7
Limiting total foliage removal to 15% -25% would be a more limiting factor than the 1/3 removal up the trunk. At least that's how I see it, if I'm understanding you correctly. The process of limbing up would then "eat up" all the foliage removage % available.


 o
RE: Heights of lowest branches

> Posted by scotjute
> foliage removal to 15% -25% would be a more limiting factor
> than the 1/3 removal up the trunk

Could be true or not, depending on individual tree
(the distribution of the foliage on it).


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Trees Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here