Ed Gilman Pruning Research Update: Reduction Pruning to Prevent Storm Damage

By Michelle Sutton
Photos courtesy of the authors of Structural Pruning: A Guide for the Green Industry (Urban Tree Foundation 2013).

Codominant stems: A bark inclusion in the union indicates there is very little, if any, wood of one stem wrapping around the other. This is one of the conditions that make unions very weak and can be avoided by appropriate structural pruning when trees are young.
Codominant stems can be avoided by appropriate structural pruning when trees are young.

Studying tree pruning and its effects on tree stability is a classic form of applied research—and can be a little lonely. “Only a few researchers are tackling pruning right now, and that can be frustrating,” says Dr. Ed Gilman, Professor of Urban Trees & Landscape Plants for the University of Florida Environmental Horticulture Department.

Gilman does Extension outreach to municipal arborists and urban foresters to teach pruning practices based on his research findings. Because he is Florida-based, Gilman is acutely aware of the need for tree pruning that enhances the tree’s ability to survive wind storms. As we in New York are experiencing increasingly bizarre weather, including tornados in places where tornados were once unheard of, Gilman’s research has application to us.

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