Friday, December 21, 2007

Oops! There goes my tree!

A.k.a. Confessions of a Suburban Tree Owner.

On page W14 of today's WSJ is a cautionary article about trees and the over-aggressive pruning thereof. Sad to say, even I, who avidly climbed trees as a child, am guilty of some of the "unkindest cuts" presented below (table in the article).
  • Hatracking = "Lopping off major structural branches to reduce the overall size." Guilty, especially with our two overgrown apple trees in the back yard.
  • Topping = "Cutting the main upright stem of a tree to prevent it from growing taller." Iffy; I have snipped the tallest tips of a front-yard maple. Does that count?
  • Flush cutting = "Trimming a limb too close to the main trunk, which leaves the tree more susceptible to insects and disease." Very Guilty, again with the apple trees. Mostly it's been limited to suckers, but the occasional larger limb has been sacrificed.
  • Tipping = "Trimming off the tips of branches to shape the tree." This is the first mentioned that doesn't kill the poor plant. Iffy; the apple trees to look nicer round, don't they?
  • Lion tailing = "Cutting off all of the inner lateral branches along a single branch but leaving a small cluster at the end to create the appearance of a bushy tail." Not Guilty! This one's just plain weird.
You readers may say, "What in the world is the purpose of that post??" It's biology!

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