The Q&A Archives: sahmel ash tree newly planted

Question: We had a 24 inch box shamel ash tree planted this spring. It is very tall with a few branches upward. Should I trim the tips of the tree to encourage fuller growth??

Answer: No. It is not recommended to do any pruning on a tree until it's been in the ground at least one year. Trees need all possible foliage to photosynthesize for more growth. Also, allow even small branches to remain low on the trunk, as they help increase trunk girth. Finally, never "top" trees by cutting across the top of the tree branches in a straight line. Topping is mistakenly done to encourage more growth, but what it does is force the tree to send out lots of "suckers" to replace that foliage. Suckers are weakly attached to the bark and are susceptible to breaking. That flush of growth also makes the tree "top heavy" and prone to blow over. Also, numerous cuts open wounds for pests and diseases to enter. Topping shortens the life of a tree so don't do it, even if some "experts" suggest it. Reputable, well-trained certified arborists will never top a tree. Good luck with your new ash tree!

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