December and Cold Invites Developmental Pruning

Get ready for the first in a series of winter pruning (general pruning) demonstration. It will be a great journey. Finding the best ornamental tree pruner in Long Island, New York, Suffolk County or Nassau County will be a great challenge. I hope this helps direct those in need.

Before prune Carpinus Betulus Pendula (Weeping European Mulberry) End of November on Long Island, New York

Developmental pruning is old world estate language passed down from one caretaker/gardener/tree manager to the next. Today we have the ANSI 300a tree pruning standards (definitions). These definitions were designed and put into the tree pruning industry so that individuals looking for an estimate could have a greater opportunity to compare language and choose the best company for their job . Unfortunately, like all other industries that have developed definitions for consumers to be guided by, these definitions are used to manipulate the consumer and benefit the salesman using the language. Old world language, standards, ethics and values are still alive and out there, you just need to make the effort to hear and see them. The best individuals in any business will incorporate the old language with the new without confusing or overwhelming the basic consumer. Now I know my readers aren’t ordinary consumers and are making the effort to better understand the world and gardens around them, so let me begin this winters pruning dialogue with a demonstration of terms. I promise to keep it clear and simple. I really don’t believe in promises but I hope you can bare with me.

Developmental pruning is exactly what it sounds like. It is a type of pruning that focuses on the removal of  branches that get in the way of the long term development of the trees ultimate canopy destination. Young trees or old benefit from this type of pruning. Like people, trees have great potential to grow, change and adapt to their environments. As a professional/certified arborist, when looking at a young tree I see that tree at it’s best from day one with forward looking eyes (50 years into the future, young for many trees). To prune a tree you must feel like G-d. Like a surgeon cutting into another human being, the impact of our actions will effect that living organism their whole life. The study of tree anatomy and how trees respond to the pruning we perform on them is critical for all pruning especially developmental pruning. The focus of this demonstration will be a Weeping European Hornbeam (Carpinus Betulus Pendula). I will preface this next paragraph with the idea that most people do not know this tree and the many benefits it provides a property and house garden/landscape.

Summer View from the 2nd story, Weeping European Hornbeam
Under the 5 year summer Canopy, Weeping European Hornbeam

Developmental pruning is the progressive removal of many of the secondary branches that are in competition with one another for the staring role as main canopy candidates. SIMPLY PUT – KNOWING WHAT THE STRUCTURE OF A MATURE SPECIMEN looks like, HELPS TO DETERMINE WHAT BRANCHES TO KEEP AND WHICH ONES TO REMOVE. The factors underlying the final choices really are determined by the surrounding environment. Structures, trees and gardens that will effect the developing trees growth need to be considered throughout the entire process. The existing environment will effect new trees as new trees will eventually effect the existing environment. In older more mature trees the first perspective is centered around maintaining continued health.  The second aspect to consider is the available light needed for other surrounding elements. Young trees have many more variables that can influence their pruning. Young trees can be pruned as often as 10 times a year or as little as every other year. The truth is you need to know the tree and what you want that tree to accomplish for you and the property.

Walk On By the Weeping European Hornbeam

Now we stand at a cross road. What does this all mean to a homeowner or professional pruner/landscaper. Unfortunately for most people, seeing into the future and having a sensitivity to the surrounding environment is near impossible. You need to find the artist, the lover of trees and architecture. If you are going to choose to plant a new tree, the value of this individual for you and your developing property is priceless (and if realistic, the price can be fair and reasonable). Caring for those things that are alive and constantly changing is not a cheap venture. Determine the value of your needs and only then will you be able to see the value in the service you are looking for. If you read this article only once you will be missing what I am trying to communicate and teach everyone. Please take the time to re-read the article and discover for yourself what it means to plant a tree or manage an existing tree you have inherited.

Looking Through the Weeping European Hornbeam Canopy

I tried to be be simple. I reviewed the article and don’t think I fully accomplished that goal. I tried to use language that would clearly demonstrate my idea and I think I came close on that front. I do appreciate my readers efforts and patience, as they  try to see through my artistic temperament.I hope I haven’t scared anyone away. There are things that have to be written about. There are ideas that have to travel around the world for us to be better.

Lets all be better as we learn from one another. Peace until we are no more.

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