Dead Wood

Stephen Moore

Well-Known Member
Does removing dead wood from the canopy actually produce some net benefit for the tree? Does anyone out there actually know of any research that suggests trees respond positively when dead wood is removed?
I have seen many ancient trees that managed to get that way despite the lack of someone removing the many dead branches that have fallen from them. That should answer the question in itself. If large deadwood is cut to a collar it may never fully callous. Furthermore, a branch cut on a shady side in a wet climate may do more harm than good.
What are the reasons we cut deadwood? aesthetics, weight reduction, tree balance, safety and to a lessor degree wind thinning. There is good reason to suspect a tree that is in an urban area could benefit from this type of treatment in order to be harmonious with humans because if this work was not done it would be dangerous and have to be removed. In the forest, natural thinning is mostly the best approach, and in some cases snow press, competition, pests and mechanical hammering interferes with a trees survival, only the strong survive. Generally my thought is, that unless a branch is dangerous, or the tree is a specimen tree or an orchard tree, and this applies to green branches as well, or smaller than 2 inches in diameter, I see no benefit in cutting it unless it aplies to balancing the tree.
 

RBJtree

Well-Known Member
I didn't read all 21 pages of this thread, so perhaps this has been said already, but humans are capable of making a positive impact on the pysical health of themselves and other humans thru exercise, medicine, and nutition, ECT, beyond what normally would occur if nature was left to its own course. Yes some people lived to an old age a long time ago, but the average life span has increased since science has started messing with nature. It stands to reason that the health of a tree would also be able to be affected in a positive way by human intervention. Sometimes It fairly common sense, as in, if an injured toe is gangranous, cut it off and the body can heal better.
 

Redtree

Active Member
Agreed. Thats why I started a couple other threads. nature vs civilization and reducing trees is unnatural. I fully believe we can improve a trees resilience. Especially when we cut live tissue in the right place vs cutting deadwood. Deadwood can fall off any old time. Cutting it off hardly changes anything for the tree in the long run. The only benefit is safety for humans. A good benefit, just not for trees. Cutting live tissue from the periphery (reduction and proper thinning) can have a huge beneficial influence in the long run. A benefit to trees and to people. Crown cleaning is somewhat beneficial sometimes but not significantly influencing structure in the long run. crown cleaning and deadwooding represents 10% of a pruning job done well in a large specimen.

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RopeShield

Well-Known Member
Curious? Where are you getting your info on crown clean or deadwood as insignificant.
The majority of my work is crown reduction in mature trees.
Next would be crown clean/training. Almost the same thing considering a young tree for me is 40 to 80 yrs old dependent on species.
 

guymayor

Well-Known Member
RBJ, welcome. We see infections spread from dead stubs in many species of trees and pests, so I agree about removing it before infection spreads.
 

Redtree

Active Member
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving. I think crown cleaning is less significant, maybe not completely insignificant. I think a trees success relies very little on whether or not it is deadwooded. Just think about it. You have a hundred trees and you deadwood half and you leave half alone. I highly doubt that the 50 you deadwooded will have better success than the ones you don't. It would be an interesting experiment. I would assume the deadwooded group may have a very slightly better success rate. but if you have a hundred trees and you structurally prune half, I think the difference in success rate would be much greater. I would hypothesize that infection comes through large failures of green wood much more often than through deadwood. Again, this discussion, like many is subject to the many variables. Species being a significant one. Boulevard stress being another significant factor. Otherwise, worrying about deadwood in a healthy, vugorous tree is far less of a concern than structural resilience. Think of the soft wooded dicots. Silver Maples. Often deadwood is up to 3 or 4 inches max. And being vigorous no problem. But failure of one to one ratios or bark inclusions is commonly over 6 or 10 inches in diameter, especially when a specimen is full and vigorous. In these more common cases, deadwooding is a small step forward where structural pruning on a cycle is a giant leap. Most of these types are just waiting for the right storm to fail at a significant diameter. almost none are succeptable to infection through deadwood of insignificant diameter. Infection and stress is a greater concern if once the tree does fail, so I'd rather focus on preventing failure than removing deadwood. I get my information directly from the trees. they are the best teachers if you listen. Otherwise, I should read more. I do agree we should move away from the 'deadwooding is useless' mentality, especially in stressful urban settings, but I think a deadwooded specimen could still have the same chances of infection as it had before. Even years later. I think its more a matter of vigour. There is something to be said about the problems concept and understanding of 'clean' though. I'd rather a resilient tree than a clean one. just like people. In our youth we eat dirt and build immunity. Throughout our life we challenge and strengthen our immune system. In old age some people are sensitive and should try to avoid infection and pneumonia. For an old tree with low vigour, watering through a 2 year drought spell is possibly better than removing deadwood. The deadwooding may help a bit or improve infection resistance, but I think it is a small factor. I would think it is more like cutting your hair than it is like brushing your teeth.

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tomstrees

Active Member
I can definitely see the value of tree pruning; unfortunately many of the trees that should be pruned out aren't because people are too cheap, like a sister with a huge oak over their house. It would do so much for light and air circulation to clean the tree up. Sometimes people can't afford it.

Not so much with tree spraying; I had a climber who worked for a big Greenwich company; said that over 90% of spraying was unnecessary.
 

ChrisWhite

New Member
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Does removing dead wood from the canopy actually produce some net benefit for the tree? Does anyone out there actually know of any research that suggests trees respond positively when dead wood is removed?
Trees and plants are constantly affected by insects, bacteria, and fungi. Active cells have ways to fight with viruses whereas weak cells are not able to fight as hard. There are some natural ways that trees and plants shed dead, and damaged tissue, but this procedure takes a long time to be done. pruning or cutting off dead wood will give your tree a boost and makes your tree happy and insects free. Removal of dead wood from a tree will also help the, in healing.
This also helps to reduce the spread of diseases, .as main goal of removing dead wood is to make your tree healthy
 
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