Clearance + Structure

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I pruned this lovely southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) in Corona Heights. I wanted to relieve some of the weight over the street to provide city-mandated clearance. Structurally, this had an added benefit of decreasing the weight on these already too-large lateral limbs. These branches over the street had already seen a lot of damage from run-ins with parking vehicles and street-sweepers.

It’s necessary to not focus purely on clearance without understanding the importance of a structurally sound tree. The magnolia has a tendency to hold its limbs very close together which can make for weak joints of attachment, that is why it is critical to prune often during establishment.

This is a strawberry tree (Arbutus ‘Marina’) I pruned a couple years back in the Portola neighborhood. This particular species tends to get very dense foliage which can create issues for parking and pedestrians alike. I also tend to see very wavy branches which can make it hard to encourage an upright structure. When working with urban trees, industry practice is to encourage a strong central stem to serve as a stable base for the other branches. With early pruning and a good eye, I was able to achieve comfortable clearance and a more stable long-term structure for this young tree.