Pruning with David Lefcourt

On July 8, 2009, our summer program whet to the meadow of the Alewife Reservation and we met David Lefcourt, forester for the Cambridge DPW. He led a demonstration of DPW workers pruning a tree so we can see how it was done and then we watched them put the dead branches in a big machine that cuts up the wood and turns it into mulch. This is a good way to recycle and reuse branches. He talked about pruning and how to do it. He also talked about the long-horned beetle and how some cities needed to cut down hundreds of acres of trees. Worcester has the greatest problem with this beetle. After he finished teaching pruning, we tried it out on about 30 trees in the Meadow. There are five main steps to pruning:

#1. Get your tools

#2. Look for trees that need pruning, the trees with dead branches

#3. Find the collar of the dead branch and use a lopper or hand clipper to cut off the branch

#4. Put all the dead branches in a pile

#5. Put mulch around the pruned tree

We only pruned trees with orange flags on them. After we did that we put mulch around the tree and cleaned up the dead branches that we pruned off. The reason why we prune trees is to make them healthy and look good and if you don’t prune with the right steps, the tree could end up with diseased branches. We put mulch around the trees so weeds would not grow around the tree and take the nutrients and water from the tree’s soil.
After pruning David had us smell a weed called pineapple weed.

Alray Adams


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