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  • Writer's pictureMarie Ambusk


November 5, 2022 was a long day of community outreach with a new crew of TREEage volunteers. I explained the best maintenance practices for structural pruning and demonstrated the proper methods for training several young trees. Our discussions were lively and engaging: “BUT WHY?” “What if you did nothing?” “Does it hurt the tree?” “No one prunes trees in the forest!” …

Later in the day something caught my attention off in the distance. Had someone painted a HEART on the stem of a maple tree?

No! And that day’s lesson ended with an unexpected reality check to emphases my message by showing an outcome of poor branch union structure.

What looks like a HEART at the top of the wound, marks the bark inclusion that caused the weakness. This could have been prevented with structural pruning maintenance, especially when the tree was younger. Over time, poor branching structure is tested by weather, the weight of the branch and nature itself – in this case, it failed.

One could say that the TREE has a BROKEN HEART.

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