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July 4, 2014

Teague: Pruning is key, but wait for weather to cool

Our normal scorching July temperatures are right on schedule and the effects of heat stress as well as drought stress on many trees are becoming obvious. Some summer branch death is normal in our arid, hot climate but this year tip, twig and branch dieback is severe, especially on badly pruned trees. Bad pruning techniques include topping or lopping off the top of main branches, lion's tail pruning which strips off all secondary branches leaving just a tuft of leaves at the end of a branch and thinning that cuts out more than one third of the branches or canopy. Bad pruning can stress trees so severely that they die, usually within seven years. The three year drought we're experiencing has sped up the degeneration process-main branches and heavy limbs are dying quickly and quickly becoming hazardous.

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