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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 46, Issue 6 — November 2020

Optimizing Reduction Pruning of Trees Under Electrical Lines: The Influence of Intensity and Season of Pruning on Epicormic Branch Growth and Wound Compartmentalization

Guillaume Perrette, Sylvain Delagrange, and Christian Messier

Abstract: Reduction pruning of the main stem is commonly used during the maintenance of power lines to encourage the establishment and development of scaffold limbs away from wires. Understanding the physiology of epicormic branch initiation and growth as well as wound compartmentalization following reduction pruning are important for optimizing the pruning cycle and maintaining healthy and safe trees. In this study, the influence of both intensity and time of year of pruning on epicormic branch response and wound compartmentalization was investigated on 56 11-year-old Pennsylvania ash trees (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh.) about 5 to 7 m in height within a controlled nursery environment. During the second growing season following reduction of the main stem, the number, height, and volume of epicormic branches, as well as tallest epicormic branches and the area of discolored wood, increased with pruning intensity. Pruning during the leaf-on season compared to the leaf-off season limited the establishment and development of epicormic branches without affecting wound-closure rate or the area of wood discoloration at the cutting point. Results are consistent with the known seasonal fluctuation of carbohydrates reserves. In the context of the electrical distribution network, where trees are subjected to pruning throughout the year, trees pruned in summer during a maintenance cycle could be pruned during the next cycle, in winter, and so on, to optimize the return interval of the pruning cycle.

Keywords: CODIT; Electricity Distribution Networks; Pruning Return Cycle; Sucker Growth; Utility Arboriculture; Vegetation Management

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