Tree thinning involves the selective elimination of a tree’s branches in order to minimize the crown density.
More about the process of thinning
Thinning is a common practice of pruning on trees which are mature. This method allows the air to pass through the pruned section of a tree’s crown. This temporarily improves sunlight to penetrate to the ground and also improves a tree’s durability during a storm. The best use of thinning comes as a way to reduce the mechanical stress on some limbs from wind, ice, snow or gravity especially on branches that have structural defects like hollows, cavities or cracks and on long, overextended or co-dominant branches.
The reasons for the practice of thinning
Tree thinning is done in many places since the tree owners or arborists think that this needs to be done on trees. Other reasons are also because they like a thinned crown’s appearance or tree thinning is just a traditional pruning method in a specific place or region. In regions where storms are rare, thinning is also rarely practiced compared to those regions that commonly experience storm related damages on trees.
Even though thinning an entire tree is useful, it is best to consider structural pruning before doing so. Actually, structural pruning is a better way to thin. To approach structural pruning practically starts with reducing defects then thinning to balance and shape until the wanted crown aesthetic. Aside from avoiding damages from storm, thinning an entire tree is mostly just an aesthetic practice lasting for shorter periods.
Some thinning precautions
Sadly, there are many people that prune trees even though it is not needed. Also, they might also misapply and misunderstand the concept of thinning, and they also believe in the practice of removing those branches only from the crown’s interior. This is sometimes called as overlifting, lions-tailing, cleaning out, stripping out the interior or overthinning. Only a little or even nothing is removed from the limbs’ ends which is a mistake. Lions-tailing (seen below) will result to structural weakness. This might be done due to the easier generation of big brush piles on a ground. It also seems that those who are performing this are asking for more from an unaware customer due to the great amount of brush seen on the ground.