Part of maintaining a healthy, attractive landscape tree involves caring for the crown canopy. Granted, certain varieties require less maintenance than others, but neglecting this otherwise routine process may have a negative impact on your entire landscape. So, what’s the best way to care for your tress’ crown canopy?
Crown Canopy Thinning
When a tree’s crown canopy begins to grow and spread across a larger area, it will restrict light while increasing wind resistance. It’s no secret that trees need light to thrive, and furthermore, an overgrown canopy may prevent sunlight from reaching plants or bushes underneath it.
And when there’s too much wind resistance against a tree’s canopy, it will create additional stress while leaving the tree susceptible to severe weather conditions.
To help protect your trees from this phenomenon, it’s recommended that you thin the crown and canopy on a regular basis. This is done by selectively trimming and cutting branches throughout the canopy.
The idea is to “thin” the entire canopy rather than removing all branches on the outside or inside. Once the canopy has been thinned, more sunlight and wind will be able to pass through, protecting your tree from damage.
Crown Canopy Lifting
Another essential step in maintaining the canopy of your trees is lifting. Basically, this involves the removal of branches found lower towards the base of the tree; thus, making the tree appear taller.
Using a pair of gardening shears or clippers, carefully trim away at the lower branches of your trees to achieve the desired clearance. Crown canopy lifting is frequently performed on and around commercial buildings and office complexes, as it provides clearance for pedestrians to walk through.
In addition to providing greater clearance, crown canopy lifting may also yield some positive benefits for the tree itself. Eliminating excess branches allows for greater light induction around the trunk.
Depending on the species/variety of tree, this may promote faster growth of dormant buds. The buds will receive more light, allowing them to grow faster and healthier than before. Of course, this is just a side benefit associated with crown canopy lifting.
Tip: When lifting your trees’ crown canopy, a good rule of thumb is to lift no more than 1/3 of its height. Lifting higher than this amount may create an awkward appearance that negates all of your hard work.
These are just a few simple ways to enhance the appearance of your trees’ crown canopy.
The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.
If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or
James Bergman says
I have done some crown canopy lifting, but I have never attempted canopy thinning. I feel like that would be counter productive since I use my trees for shade. However, I also want the tree to last a long time. Since I have never really done this thinning, should I make sure not to do too much the first time?
Tobias Armstrong says
I never would have thought about the effects of wind on the canopy of my trees. I knew that people often got their canopies thinned, but I never knew why exactly until now. I guess it makes sense that doing so would reduce the wear on my trees and make them last longer, so I may give someone a call and have them come look at it to see what they think I should do. Thanks for sharing!
I suggest reading some research by Ken James on the effects of canopy thinning, as well as canopy lifting. Research is showing that canopy thinning INCREASES the wind load effect on the tree by the wind having direct access to the trunk. Also, removing the inner canopy affects the tree’s complex damping effect that it has lived with its whole life.
Canopy raising removes a tree’s ballast weight, further reducing the tree’s ability to absorb dynamic force.
And of course, all pruning opens wounds on the tree that take energy to heal before fungi invade. And it takes away from the tree’s food source, too.