Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Class Preview: Pruning Young Trees for Structure and Health

Learn how to help your trees thrive with proper pruning.
Photo by Micaela Unda
Pruning trees is an art and a science. But it can be learned.

This art and science will be the topic of a 3-hour workshop titled “Pruning Young Trees for Structure and Health” at Duke Gardens on Saturday, Oct. 22. Instructor Bryan Lowrance is a horticulturist and certified arborist with Bartlett Tree Experts in Raleigh.

Discover the basics of how to select a healthy tree, examining leaves, bark, the trunk root flare (where it meets the ground) and roots. Bryan will give you tips of what to look for in a healthy tree, how to look for signs of stress in poor leaf quantity or stunted leaves, and how to check if roots are growing in an unhealthy pattern.

Once you’ve found your healthy tree, Bryan has a few suggestions for pruning right away.

“Always cut out any dead, diseased or broken branches,” he says. “Then begin pruning for future health, improving the plant’s structure and eliminating future problems.”

It’s a misconception to think that newly planted trees don’t need attention. Bryan will cover tips on tree establishment, symptoms of stress, and proper mulching and care for your tree to help it thrive long into the future.

He will also explain how the structure of a tree, including crossing branches and co-dominant stems, impacts it over time. For example, you want to avoid a tree with two main stems (co-dominant), because the place where they join the trunk is weak and will be more likely to split later on.

You do not need to bring any of your own tools.  But you will learn all the basic pruning skills, with a focus on proper technique and seasonal timing. You’ll finish the class knowing what you should look for when pruning trees and how to make thoughtful pruning cuts.

Bryan plans for the entire class to be outdoors so participants can get hands-on experience. He will also bring one of his arborist crew leaders to do a tree-climbing demonstration.

The workshop will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Parking is free until 1 p.m. For more information, please go to our website. To register, call 919-668-1707.

You are sure to learn a lot while also enjoying a lovely fall morning in Duke Gardens.

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