Directional Pruning & Power-Lines
One of the main reasons for pruning trees is to clear branches that are interfering with power lines and other utility lines. Trees along with power lines play an important role in our communities. Unfortunately, the two often find themselves in conflict. Directional pruning is an alternative that is used rather than topping that keeps the trees healthier. It also reduces the costs associated with line clearing.
With directional pruning, also referred to as natural pruning and the Shigo method, those branches that are heading towards the power lines or other utility lines are the only ones that are pruned. Any branches that are growing out away from the power lines or down from the wires are left alone and will continue to grow.
With this method, a stub is not left because the branches are pruned at the ‘crotch,’ which is where they reach another branch. These kinds of pruning cuts when they are made properly will minimize decay and sprouting and the cuts heal well.
A proper directional cut is made by removing the branch and leaving no stub, but at the same time the branch collar and branch bark ridge are not disturbed. Flush cuts are not recommended because they make large wounds, which tend to cause decay and die back.
With the directional method, you don’t need to use a wound dressing, since they actually increase the rate of decay. The branch that’s left after the cut must be healthy and the diameter must be at least 1/3 that of the branch that is cut. If branches are too small or they are not growing properly, it won’t be able to stop sprouting.
Directionally pruned trees don’t have that familiar hedged look that a topped tree has. They have a V shape for directly overhead and the tree grows back with the correct balance. There are many advantages to directional pruning.
- It leaves the tree almost as healthy as it was before pruning.
- The trees don’t have to be pruned as often because there are fewer sprouts.
- Saves money and it reduces utility bills.
- There are fewer wounds created and the tree heals better.
- It can be started when the tree is young.
Directional pruning is best started when the tree is young. It may not be effective on trees that have been topped a number of times.