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Fundamental Principles

Trees are very much like human beings in their requirements, mode of

life and diseases, and the general principles applicable to the care of

one are equally important to the intelligent treatment of the other. The

removal of limbs from trees, as well as from human beings, must be done

sparingly and judiciously. Wounds, in both trees and human beings, must

be disinfected and dressed to keep out all fungus or disease germs.

Fungous growths of trees are similar to human cancers, both in the

manner of their development and the surgical treatment which they

require. Improper pruning will invite fungi and insects to the tree,

hence the importance of a knowledge of fundamental principles in this

branch of tree care.

Time: Too much pruning at one time should never be practiced (Fig. 112),

and no branch should be removed from a tree without good reason for

so doing. Dead and broken branches should be removed as soon as

observed, regardless of any special pruning season, because they are

dangerous, unsightly and carry insects and disease into the heart of

the tree. But all other pruning, whether it be for the purpose of

perfecting the form in shade trees, or for increasing the production

of fruit in orchard trees, should be confined to certain seasons.

Shade and ornamental trees can best be pruned in the fall, while the

leaves are still on the tree and while the tree itself is in

practically a dormant state.

Proper cutting: All pruning should be commenced at the top of the tree

and finished at the bottom. A shortened branch (excepting in poplars

and willows, which should be cut in closely) should terminate in

small twigs which may draw the sap to the freshly cut wound; where a

branch is removed entirely, the cut should be made-close and even

with the trunk, as in Fig. 113. Wherever there is a stub left after

cutting off a branch, the growing tissue of the tree cannot cover it

and the stub eventually decays, falls out and leaves a hole (see

Fig. 114), which serves to carry disease and insects to the heart of

the tree. This idea of close cutting cannot be over-emphasized.

Where large branches have to be removed, the splitting and ripping

of the bark along the trunk is prevented by making one cut beneath

the branch, about a foot or two away from the trunk, and then

another above, close to the trunk.

Too severe pruning: In pruning trees, many people have a tendency to cut

them back so severely as to remove everything but the bare trunk and

a few of the main branches. This process is known as "heading

back." It is a method, however, which should not be resorted to

except in trees that are very old and failing, and even there only

with certain species, like the silver maple, sycamore, linden and

elm. Trees like the sugar maple will not stand this treatment at

all. The willow is a tree that will stand the process very readily

and the Carolina poplar must be cut back every few years, in order

to keep its crown from becoming too tall, scraggy and unsafe.

Covering wounds: The importance of immediately covering all wounds with

coal tar cannot be overstated. If the wound is not tarred, the

exposed wood cracks, as in Fig. 115, providing suitable quarters for

disease germs that will eventually destroy the body of the tree.

Coal tar is by far preferable to paint and other substances for

covering the wound. The tar penetrates the exposed wood, producing

an antiseptic as well as a protective effect. Paint only forms a

covering, which may peel off in course of time and which will later

protrude from the cut, thus forming, between the paint and the wood,

a suitable breeding place for the development of destructive fungi

or disease. The application of tin covers, burlap, or other bandages

to the wound is equally futile and in most cases even injurious.

Tree Studies

How To Identify Trees
Group I The Pines
The White Pine (pinus Strobus)
The Pitch Pine (pinus Rigida)
The Scotch Pine (pinus Sylvestris)
Group Ii The Spruce And Hemlock
The Norway Spruce (picea Excelsa)
Hemlock (tsuga Canadensis)
Group Iii The Red Cedar And Arbor-vitae
Red Cedar (juniperus Virginiana)
Arbor-vitae; Northern White Cedar (thuja Occidentalis)
Group Iv The Larch And Cypress
The European Larch (larix Europaea)
Bald Cypress (taxodium Distichum)
Group V The Horsechestnut, Ash And Maple
The Horsechestnut
The White Ash (fraxinus Americana)
Sugar Maple (acer Saccharum)
Silver Maple (acer Saccharinum)
Red Maple (acer Rubrum)
Norway Maple (acer Platanoides)
Box Elder (acer Negundo)
Group Vi Trees Told By Their Form: Elm, Poplar, Gingko And Willow
American Elm (ulmus Americana)
Lombardy Or Italian Poplar (populus Nigra, Var Italica)
Gingko Or Maidenhair Tree (gingko Biloba)
Weeping Willow (salix Babylonica)
Group Vii Trees Told By Their Bark Or Trunk: Sycamore, Birch, Beech,
Blue Beech, Ironwood, And Hackberry
The Sycamore Or Plane Tree (platanus Occidentalis)
Gray Or White Birch (betula Populifolia)
American Beech (fagus Americana)
Blue Beech Or Hornbeam (carpinus Caroliniana)
Hackberry (celtis Occidentalis)
Group Viii The Oaks And Chestnut
White Oak (quercus Alba)
Black Oak (quercus Velutina)
Red Oak (quercus Rubra)
Pin Oak (quercus Palustris)
Chestnut (castanea Dentata)
Group Ix The Hickories, Walnut And Butternut
Shagbark Hickory (hicoria Ovata)
Mockernut Hickory (hicoria Alba)
Black Walnut (juglans Nigra)
Group X Tulip Tree, Sweet Gum, Linden, Magnolia, Locust, Catalpa,
Dogwood, Mulberry And Osage Orange
Tulip Tree (liriodendron Tulipifera)
Sweet Gum (liquidambar Styraciflua)
American Linden (tilia Americana)
The Magnolias