Pruning Tip #2: It’s Alive!!!

On a beautiful Saturday morning, Tree Watch pruners Jim Abbot and Ken Taber set out for Highland Avenue and its gaudy new redbud trees (Cercis canadensis), a selection by a Tennessee nurseryman which he named “The Rising Sun.”

Ken made an interesting discovery. As you can see in the photo above, some of the shrubbier redbuds on Highland had died and then suckered up from their stumps (not unlike the coast redwood we recently wrote about.)

Ken’s job was to choose a new stem from among the several stump sprouts and prune the rest of the plant to promote that stem’s development, over time, into becoming the main trunk of the new tree.

The rule of thumb in pruning a younger tree is to remove no more than about a quarter of the foliage in a single season. Ken had to keep in mind his “budget” while pursuing several goals: convert this shrub back into a tree, get branches out of the sidewalk, and clear the curbside parking area.

As you can see here, Ken had restored this redbud to something resembling a tree, but his work was not yet done.

After carefully making his choice of sprouts to remove, Ken began what will be a multiyear process of eliminating all but one remaining stem.

The final step was to saw away the half dozen inches of stump that had been left. Bravo, Ken!

If you’re interested in learning more about pruning, contact us here at Inman Park Tree Watch. We coordinate with Trees Atlanta to offer pruning workshops. In fact, Trees Atlanta has a beginner’s class coming up in early June, for which you can find a link in the left sidebar of this page. Also, we’d be happy to put you on our own list of people to contact when we offer Inman Park residents more advanced training.

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