Albert Francis Blakeslee.

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point, a third cut should be made at the point D, After the limb has
dropped off the final cut may be made through to C.

tinned through to C. Sometimes with tough-wooded trees and when
there is a large shoulder at the base, the branch may not split
readily when the second cut reaches the half-way point or the
level of the ending of the first cut. In such cases a third cut
should be made from above at the point D, just beyond the first
cut. When these two cuts meet on the same level the limb will
drop off, when the final cut may be finished.

All cuts should be made smooth and close to the parent branch,
which forms the callus to heal the wound. AYhen there is a
large shoulder at the base of the limb to be removed, there is
always a temptation to make the cut beyond the shoulder and at
right-angles with the branch. Wounds made by cutting in this
direction, although much smaller, will not heal over as readily



as those made by cutting parallel with and close to the parent
branch. (See figs. 44, 45, 46, and 47).

Time to Prune — In general, pruning should be done while the
tree is dormant. Most people prefer to prune in early spring,
believing that the wounds heal over better when made just before
the tree starts its growth. There are cases, as pointed out before,

Fig-. 44. A cut properly made, observe that the wound has already
commenced to heal.

Fig. 45. The result of bad Pruning.



where certain trees may be making too much growth, and where
pruning during the growing season is recommended. While the
practice of summer pruning is useful in the way of reducing
vegetable growth and in encouraging the development of blossoms
and fruit, it tends to weaken the tree. It produces the same
effect as a partial defoliation by insects. Pruning during the

Fig-. 46: An example of bad Pruning. Compare with Fig. 45.

summer, therefore, always should be sparingly done. It is practiced
mostly on fruit trees to encourage fruit development. It should



be remembered that the buds from which the blossoms and fruit
come during any season have been formed during the previous sum-
mer. To have any influence upon the supply of blossoms and fruit
for the following year, therefore, the pruning should be done
early in the summer, before the fruit buds are formed. With
most species the best time is about the first of Julv. The removal

Fig. 47. An example of good Pruning. The cuts have been made
close and smooth and the wounds properly dressed.

of foliage, only, will produce the same effect as removing branches
with leaves attached. Since trees rarely grow too rapidly the
practice of summer pruning is seldom necessary. The rule,
however, is to prune in winter for more wood growth and in
summer for more blossoms and fruit.

Pruning should never be done when the sap is moving freely in



the spring, for some trees are likely to suffer seriously from the
loss of sap. Should any dead or diseased branches be observed
during the summer it is always well, for the sake of appearance, to
remove them immediately.

Pruning Tools — The tools actually necessary for pruning are
few in number, but good workmen are very particular with regard
to the character of their tools. There are saws specially designed
for the purpose, but a large proportion of them are useless. Some
workmen prefer one type and some another. A small but very
convenient saw is shown in figure 48. This is called the California
Pruning Saw and comes in three sizes based upon the length of

Fig-. 48. Pruning- Tools. A 14-inch California Pruning Saw and
good type of Pruning- Shears.

the blade as follows : 12, 14 and 18-inch. This saw is too small for
work where there are many large limbs to be cut, but it should
be included in every pruner's kit. A larger saw also w^ill be neces-
sary. A saw of good size and with large teeth, known as Atkins'
Universal Saw, No. 83, is a favorite with many people. A one-
man saw, which is a small cross-cut saw, will be found useful
for the cutting of very large limbs.

The pruner will also require a good set of pruning shears like
those shown in figure 48. These are especially useful in pruning
young trees. There is a knack in using hand shears that when
acquired will greatly facilitate their use. The cutting blade should
be placed on the upper side of the branch so that the weight of
the latter will relieve the binding. It is advisable also to have the
non-cutting blade toward the side to be removed to avoid injuring
the part that is to remain.

Long-handled loppers are useful in "lopping'' off the ends of
branches. These are similar to hand shears but are attached to
a twelve or fifgteen-foot pole. The shears are operated by the


use of a long rope or steel rod that passes tliroiigh screw-eyes
on the pole. This tool may also be used as a hook with which
to pull loose branches out of a tree. If a similar instrument

Fig. 49. Four types of "loppers" from which the handles have been
removed for photographing.

could be made with the cutting blade working from above, it
would be a decided improvement. Among the other tools and
accessories that are likely to prove useful may be mentioned, a
small one-handed axe; a piece of rope; tree climbers; a pruner's
belt for the carrying of tools and for supporting the operator.

Tahing Car^e of the Wounds — The wounds made by pruning
must be protected to prevent the access of fungi. ^ Small wounds,
or those less than two inches in diameter are likely to heal over
before danger of infection. / This depends largely upon the species
and the vigor of the tree.' The wounds of Poplars and Willows
heal over quickly, while those of the White Oak or Sugar Maple
heal very slowly. ^ As a rule, all wounds two inches or more in
diameter should be dressed with some preparation./ "WTien the
pruning is done in the fall or winter the dressing should be
delayed till spring. This will give the cut surface a chance to dry
out and the wood to become "checked.'' If the dressing is applied
when the wood is in such condition it will be decidedly more
effective in sealing up the cracks. Thick paint made from white
lead and raw linseed oil will answer the purpose. A little green
or black coloring matter may be added to make the wounds less



conspicuous. Most experts use coal tar for dressing wounds. This
material makes an excellent dressing, but occasional samples
containing an excess of creosote or carbolic acid have caused
serious damage to the living bark around the wounds. When care
is exercised in preventing it from running down on the healthy
bark, it may be safely used.

The larger wounds will require later applications every two or
three years unless they are permanently sealed up in some way.
Wounds six inches or more in diameter are sometimes covered
with zinc. When the work of "tinning," as it is commonly called,
is properly done it is a very effective means of taking care of
large wounds. The zinc plates should be cut out so as to fit






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Online LibraryAlbert Francis BlakesleeTrees in winter; their study, planting, care and identification → online text (page 10 of 31)