We have a fairly new tree (around 4 years old) in the front yard. It grew
pretty fast and was approaching the 20-ft level. A few nights ago, a gust of
wind snapped off the top six feet of the tree. The rest of the tree looks
fine, but still needs pruning of the lower branches. A nursery told me to
point a branch near the break to vertical so it would become the central
leader after applying a thin coating of prune sealer to the break. I have a
bungee cord holding the new leader in place pointing straight up and have
applied the sealer.
1. How long do I need to keep this branch tied up?
2. Can / Should I still prune the lower branches this winter? They are
really obnoxious and would they hinder the healing up top?
Until it stays up on its own. I would guess six months at least.
You can still prune as you would normally.
You didn't mention what type of tree it was. Some fast growing trees often
have problems like the ones you mentioned because their wood is very soft.
In the future, you might consider either an Ash or an Elm tree. Some
varieties of both grow fast, yet are quite strong.
Stay away from Ash!!! Their roots are pretty much on top of the ground
and will ruin your yard.
Actually, stay away from all fast growing trees unless you need quick shade
and intend to take them down in a few years. These are the trees builders
use for landscaping because they look good to a potential buyer, but a few
years down the road, they are nothing but problems.
My folks had several Ash trees and I had a couple at my last place. I never
observed that about them, but we always had the green Ash varieties and not
the white Ash varieties which are common on the east coast. However, most
large shade trees have the tendancy to produce a lot of surface roots.
These include Maple, Oak, Elm, and Beech. Many people think tree's roots
grow deeply, but the reality is most of the tree's roots are close to the
surface for all types of trees. Many people who have problems with surface
roots are those people who water for 15 minutes, every single day. When I
water, I water until the ground is saturated, then I don't water again for
several days. I also keep my trees well mulched. The only trees I've ever
had problems with surface roots were Beeches and Maples.
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