Crown Reduction

Crown reduction is the practice of reducing the height and size of the overall canopy. Overgrown trees may present hazards or they may simply provide too much shade to be desirable. Such trees may benefit from crown reduction. Crown reduction should be distinguished from topping—a practice of simply cutting off the central stem of a tree at a certain height without regard to proper reduction cutting (e.g., “drop-crotching”) and with no regard for the effect such pruning will have on the long term viability of the tree. Crown reduction differs by the location and type of reduction cut. Selected branches to be reduced are pruned down to viable lateral branches that will then assume the role of apical dominance. The goal is to reduce the crown without compromising the integrity of the branches and without forcing the tree to produce an unhealthy glut of watersprouts (suckers). Crown reduction may not be appropriate to all species of trees.

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