Tree Trimming: What You Need To Know About Branch Position

Posted on: 18 March 2020

Healthy trees require a healthy canopy. Poor branch position can affect the health of the tree and increase the chances of damage, disease, and pest infestation. The following are some branch issues to watch for. 

Crotch Angle

The crotch refers to the angle formed between the trunk and the upper part of the branch. Healthy branches have an acute angle -- less than 90 degrees but generally more than 45 degrees. A tighter acute crotch angle can result in a weak branch that can break easily under excess weight, such as from snow. The same is true for branches that have an angle greater than 90 degrees, which makes them droop downward. Generally, any branches that grow in with a weak crotch angle should be pruned out so that breakage isn't a concern. 

Water Sprouts

A water sprout is a new branch that begins growing from the upper surface of an existing branch or along the trunk, typically below the main canopy framework of branches. These branches grow perfectly vertically and they do so quickly. Water sprouts can weaken branches, causing them to break. A water sprout on the trunk can lead to a split, which can be deadly for the tree. Water sprouts should be pruned flush to the branch or trunk as soon as they are noticed.

Canopy Imbalance

A healthy tree needs a well-balanced canopy. This generally means that the scaffold of branches should be roughly symmetrical across all sides of the tree. An unbalanced canopy isn't just unattractive on a tree, it can lead to major disasters. Trees that are heavy on one side are more likely to blow down in high winds. If the cause of the canopy imbalance is the result of too heavy branch growth on one side, then broken branches and bark damage could also occur. Pruning to balance out the canopy can solve the issue.

Crossed Branches

Sometimes branches grow in a manner that causes two to cross and rub together. This rubbing removes the bark, which opens a wound that can allow insect or disease organisms to attack the tree. Further, crossed branches often mean the canopy is overcrowded, which can lead to poor circulation and mildew problems. Trim out crossed branches and thin out the canopy to ensure that your tree remains healthy. 

Proper pruning means fully assessing the canopy and branch position each year. A tree trimming services expert is a great place to start looking for more information, as they can help keep your landscape trees in great condition.