Tree Blog

Quercus engelmanii | Pasadena

This is another veteran Engelman Oak which has survived in Pasadena at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Unfortunately, the desire to care for this tree over the decades has resulted in disastrous pruning practices, which by now have left the limbs dangerously long, and the interior canopy utterly destroyed. Tree services love to cut out interior foliage - it's easy for poorly trained, inexpensive labor to cut away easily accessible limbs on the interior canopy. But what’s needed to keep a big tree around for decades and centuries is to retain as much interior foliage as possible, while shortening the ends of the branches in a way that retains the natural shape of the tree, and simply reduces the length of the longest limbs. The correct pruning is unusual, because it is much more difficult to do, and requires much more skilled and experienced personnel, or expensive equipment. This is the way of pruning required by physics (keeping mass and strength closer to the trunk), rather than shaped by the business plans of ignorant or uncaring people.

Dave Muffly