Top cut on dogwood.

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Since I am going to do it anyway, and have already trimmed the branches, would someone tell me if I should make an angle cut or a straight cut and should i tar it when reducing height by about 1/3 with a topping cut of the main trunk on a dogwood. Or does it make any difference. (I already realize that I will attract tornadoes, lightning strikes, earthquakes and kill every living thing within a hundred yard radius of the tree and will probably set up a domino effect of infestations that will blight the entire Eastern seaboard.)
Thank you for non-scolding answers,
FACE <sarcastic? me? ;-))
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dont try to seal cuts on trees. I am truly surprised a dogwood would need heading back since they dont grow all that tall. Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List http://puregold.aquaria.net / www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the endorsements or recommendations I make.
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Thanks for the answer and that is a valid question. A property i have had for some years now had a dogwood planted near the house and walk which was just fine for them and for several years afterward but has now reached it's expected 25' and was in the utility lines coming into the house -- besides just being oversized for it's position.
I never use a sealant for branch trimming but this morning i read that topcuts were particularly inviting to disease invasion since they rotted somewhat and so I thought that to tar it might be reasonable. Also, taking that info, i considered that a bluntish angle cut might be a better idea than a straight cut. The article gave no idea how to do top it, just that to do so was a really, really, bad thing. :-)
As far as heighth, most of the standard southern dogwoods run to about 25 feet, with some cultivars like the Cherokee (?) being less. However, in a wooded area i have one over 40 feet tall with about a five inch trunk. It has been competing with pines to stay at the canopy top. It is losing. :-)
As far as the subject tree, I have cut the branches over the last few weeks and have it in the shape that i want it, I still have not cut the 8 feet or so of the trunk though.
FACE
On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 19:00:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com in rec.gardens wrote:

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Just read this comment. Is branch sealant bad? And, if so, why?
Patrick
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Patrick) wrote:

The latest thoughts on it are that it seals in bacteria/bugs that the plant can handle on its own with no assistance.
I never did a side-by-side comparison, but I haven't used a sealant in 20 years because it never seemed to help at all.
Here's a quick synapses--- with a couple of exceptions to the 'no dressing' rule; http://www.colorwithplants.com/phc/pruning/treatingwounds.asp [oaks & elms during certain periods]
Jim
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On 19 Nov 2004 19:18:21 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Patrick) in rec.gardens wrote:

I would not say that it is "bad". I would say that it is unnecessary. What I know that it will do, and is desirable is some cases, is to prevent regrowth from that area. I will also use a sealant, even latex house paint, on what i consider to be a significant wound -- like bark stripping --that has opened the growth wood to disease invasion.
But, in the all in all, what works for you works best.
FACE
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Patrick) wrote in message

It seals in pathogens and allows them a place to multiply while damaging the plant tissue that allows healing. Better to cut just outside the branch collar cleanly and allow the wound to heal itself.
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On 19 Nov 2004 19:18:21 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Patrick) wrote:

(No, it is not bad for the people who sell it; bad for the tree, yes.)
Read Dr. Alex Shigo for a full explanation. If your library doesn't have it, they can probably do an interloan and get it for you. If you work with trees at all, his two books are a must. Under a hundred dollars for the best arboriculture education available.
http://www.igin.com/Close-Up_Profile/alexshigo.html
http://tinyurl.com/5o7cp
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If the tree is actually growing thru the lines and the electric company thinks it is dangerous, then it is best to simply remove the tree. southern dogwoods are dying from anthracnose and having to cut one like that is going to make it an incubator for disease that will be better able to spread to the rest of the dogwoods. dogwoods are under story trees, they do best in hot climes under taller trees. Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List http://puregold.aquaria.net / www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the endorsements or recommendations I make.
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On Sat, 20 Nov 2004 04:27:12 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com in rec.gardens wrote:

The utility lines are phone and cable and are not as securely fastened to the house and street pole as electric. If it were electric, i would not consider the branches in the winds to be of any danger.
The tree was planted as an ornamental anchor on one corner of the house without apparent thought as to it's mature size. The upper branches had begun to scrape the cedar-sided house.
The next nearest dogwood is at least 60 feet away and according to conversations with the county extension agent several years ago, diseases from the tree will not affect a tree that far away.
Essentially -- and literally -- this is an experiment. one that i have thought over since August and the bottom line keeps coming out to what do I have to lose if it fails versus what do i have to gain if it works.
If it dies, then a couple of hours with me, a shovel and a chainsaw can remove all traces of it's former existence. (So far, I have used a manual limb saw exclusively to trim it.)
If it lives, I will either have what I want or it will be ugly enough for me to finish it off. If the latter, then clean-up and disposal will be easier than it is now.
And all of that, so to speak, is the complete nut and branch of the thing.
Many responses i have seen remind me of the scientist who refuses to perform an experiment to prove his pet theory lest he be proved wrong.
Cheers,
FACE
I
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in rec.gardens wrote:

This is just not true and I am surprised an extension agent would have the temerity to suggest it. Fungal diseases that affect dogwood, like anthracnose, are airborne. It doesn't make any difference how far away diseased trees are - as long as they are in the general vicinity - and 60' would certainly constitute that requirement - the spores will spread by wind and air movement and by birds. How else would these pathogens spread among native populations?
As far as the pruning is concerned, prune if you must but be aware that dogwoods do not respond well to heavy pruning. If any disease IS present, the pruning can aggrevate it, plus dogwoods respond to pruning cuts by generating lots of suckering shoots at the cut. Not a nice look - very Medusa-like. Be sure not to leave any stubs - make clean cuts back to growth points or to the branch collar if larger limbs. Apply NO sealers - the tree will do a far better job of compartmentalizing and sealing the the cut than you can.
pam - gardengal
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in rec.gardens wrote:

Thanks for all of the information. I am aware of the fact that they do not respond well to heavy pruning and I have seen the medusa-like growths.
If it lives, it may end up so ugly I take it down anyway. But hey, maybe in a coupla springs I'll be posting a success picture to the binaries group.
I appreciate the information on the spreadology of anthracnose.
FACE
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It will make no real difference how you top third out of your (soon to be moribund) dogwood tree. Hack away.
--
Mike LaMana, MS, CTE
Consulting Forester & Arborist
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Just had to get that "soon to be moribund" in there didn't you. Well, if it makes you feel better more power to you, you might try practicing replies that offer constructive advice in bad situations, but hey, that's just me. So now you can make your reply insulting me further for trying something that you do not have the guts to try.
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither suffer much nor enjoy much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt
On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 19:24:25 -0500, "Mike LaMana"

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My word...don't ruffle so easily FACE. You didn't say you HAD to do the deed, you merely said you were GOING to do the deed.
My constructive, professional advice is this: It does not matter what type of cut your going to do because it is my opinion and experience that, to within a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, the tree will be seriously and deleteriously effected by the pruning.
Good luck. ML.
--
Mike LaMana, MS, CTE
Consulting Forester & Arborist
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Your good professional advice really isnt required because this has been a bait and switch on the part of the OP. All advice has been turned down or mocked as not scientific because he has obviously already decided what he was going to do and why.
Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List http://puregold.aquaria.net / www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the endorsements or recommendations I make.
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snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

That should have been pretty obvious. The original post roughly translated to, "I'm going to do something unconventional, and I'd like someone to tell me that I'm not as dumb as my idea sounds." (His exact words were: "Since I am going to do it anyway...").
Once they say that, it doesn't matter how many of the most respected people in the group say it's a bad idea, or how many excellent reasons they have for saying it's a bad idea, any post that doesn't essentially say, "Go ahead. Your on the right track" will be dismissed at best, but more likely ridiculed, and maybe even flamed.
Too bad. A lot of good points were brought up in this thread.
On the other hand, even if the OP didn't care for the advice he pretended to solicit, the discussion was still educational, and interesting to others. Nothing earth-shattering, but still good information.
--
Warren H.

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I have several dogwood trees, some native to the area. I have not trimmed any of them and they all do well. A straight cut will leave less cross-sectional area exposed to disease. Do not use tree sealer. Dogwoods bruise easily and heal very slowly.
On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 13:44:48 -0500, FACE

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Thanks, I realize the cross-sectional surface would be larger with an angle cut. I agree wit the non-sealant approach on branches but with the grain open and upright I considered it in this case, and in particular tar.
FACE
rec.gardens wrote:

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In the long run it will probably be better to make a bottom cut and remove the tree entirely rather than watch it's slow decline to your pruning. Plant something appropriate to the site.
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