Canopy Thinning & End-Limb Weight Reduction: Before & After
Project managed by Micah Pace, M.S., Urban Forestry Specialist, ISA Certified Arborist, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified
Large open-grown trees can be beautiful and scenic, but grown close to streets, driveways, and homes, they may represent increased risk for property damage and/or injury. Through time, this horizontal growth can increase the risk of failure. This is especially true for relatively weak-wooded species such as ash and pear. However, this is also true for trees like live oaks because they retain their foliage all winter long. When freezing rain or snow occurs the leaves provide ample surface area for ice and snow to build up causing long extended limbs to become more susceptible to breakage.
Canopy thinning is a pruning technique to reduce the overall volume (i.e. weight) of a tree’s canopy. This can be targeted to specific limbs or portions of the tree or for the entire tree. Reducing end limb weight will reduce the risk of loss during storms. The images below depict the same open-grown live oak both before and after thinning. The significant weight reduction of this tree’s canopy has lowered the potential for damage during an upcoming storm this winter and next spring, while not dramatically altering the tree’s appearance.