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Pruning "double" Red Pine

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From: Steve Siemieniuk
Murillo, ZZ

I recently bought a house with a nice row of red pine out front. There is one tree that is a "double" with a 6" caliper offshoot growing off of the main 8" caliper trunk roughly 8-10" from the ground. This second tree is intertwined in the main tree and I want to cut it out. However, I don't want to kill the tree - what's the best way / time to do this? I read late fall / winter is the best time - is there anything I should put on a wound of this size? Is it even worth the risk of doing?



Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Greetings Steve:

I'm always cautious about giving pruning advice without physically seeing the tree(s). With that said, I will provide you with some general guidance and suggestions. My first thought with regard to your question is whether or not it is even necessary to "remove" the double stem--is this tree causing problems or is it a hazard/liability concern? Do you wish to remove this "double" strictly for aesthetic or cosmetic reasons?

You're not likely going to kill the residual main stem by pruning out a "double" from it and I would advise against painting the stump wound as it is unnecessary. This, of course, is based on the assumption that you absolutely want/need to remove this double stem. I'm a staunch advocate of dormant season pruning--always have been and I always will be.

In addition, I would strongly encourage you to contact a certified arbortist if this pruning job is beyond your chainsaw capabilities. Pushing your chainsaw operating skills by cutting out this double stem is certainly not worth it.

For a more thorough answer and a legitimate on-site assessment, please contact a local forester in your area.

Best of luck!

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