trees - Knowledgebase Question

spokane, Wa
Question by zigmystr
April 26, 2010
I have quaking Apsen trees approx. 4yrs. old. The center leader is near 8ft, but appears to be dead. It never leafs out.however ther are many side shoots about 2 to 3ft high on the tree. Can I top the center leader without hurting the tree?

Answer from NGA
April 26, 2010


If the central leader is obviously dead, pruning it out won't harm your tree. You might start cutting up high and working your way down until you find live wood. Look for green tissue when you cut. Once you've found live wood, stop pruning. Your aspen will develop new branches just below the cut and one will eventually become the dominant or central leader. Best wishes with your tree.

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