(Note: this is a really LONG post. Not in text – but in photos! Sorry for all the scrolling.)
I don’t know about you, but after spending three weeks on my hands and knees looking for trunk rots, surface roots, and suckers, I’m ready to become bipedal again. So today let’s look at trunks – and what shouldn’t be missing on them.
Many young trees have numerous short branches along their trunk, as shown in the photo below:
Unfortunately, many nurseries and gardeners think this looks scruffy, and respond by pruning these branches off, leaving a tree such as the one in this picture:
Personally, I think these trees look like lollipops, but aesthetics aside, this type of pruning can inadvertently damage young trees. Their bark is often thin and sensitive to environmental stress – especially sunburn. Without those short branches deflecting the sun from the bark surface, the living tissues under the bark can be killed, creating dead patches on the trunk:
How can you tell if the tree you’re considering has been improperly pruned? Just look for those tell-tale pruning cuts, as a close examination of the lollipop tree reveal:
In time, these trees develop thicker bark, and the lower branches are gradually shaded out as the crown increases. Be patient! Let your trees be a little fuzzy when they’re young. They’ll grow out of it.