The beauty and versatility of Canopy Trees
I’ve always loved the look of Canopy Trees. I think they provide elegance, in some instances, color, not to mention shade. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite examples of Canopy Trees.
I found a very instructive and comprehensive guide on how to train trees into Canopy Trees on SFgate.com by Robert Morello and decided to repost it here:
Step back from the tree and visually divide it into thirds. This segmenting of the tree allows you to better plan and carry out your pruning technique. Place a ladder against a sturdy portion of the tree to hold it steady. The tree trunk or a substantial branch will suffice, but a helper should be stationed at the base of the ladder to keep it from shifting. Mount the ladder and climb to a height that allows you to easily reach the upper third of the tree.
Cut back small branches near the outer edges of the tree that grow alongside other similar branches. Cut back the less mature branch of the group using sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts with as few jagged and hanging edges as possible. An extended-reach tree saw comes in handy to reach the higher branches either from the ladder or from the ground. Repeat this process all around the upper portions of the tree to create an open, airy and aesthetically shaped canopy.
Inspect the lower third of the tree and use the tree saw and pruning shears to remove any small branches that exist along the trunk below the main growth branches. Inspect the middle third of the tree for vertical water sprouts, which grow directly upward from existing branches and cut them back at the base.
Remove the lowermost branches of the tree at either the trunk or where they split off from main branches. Use the tree saw to cut them away cleanly. Step back from the tree before making the cuts to ensure that the lowest remaining branch on the tree sits within the bottom third of the tree. This ensures even weight distribution and prevents frailty, which can result in wind damage or toppling.
Examine your pruning work. The top of the tree should be sufficiently thinned to allow light to pass through and new growth to fill in the canopy fully. The central portion of the tree should be without the choking effects of water sprouts and the tangles they cause, so that open space accentuates the canopy above. The lower end of the tree should be clean and without any but the oldest and strongest of the tree’s branches.
Things You Will Need
Extended-reach tree saw
When working with a new tree, allow it to grow naturally for the first three years, pruning only the top few inches from the main stalk to promote upward growth and full development. Over time, branches form both at the top and along the trunk of the young tree.
Using sealer to cover the ends of newly trimmed trees may introduce bacteria and pests to the inner portions of the tree. Leave the cuts to heal in the open air naturally.
Do not remove more than 15 percent of a mature tree’s foliage in a single growing season. Doing so may injure and weaken the tree, affecting its overall health and life cycle.
Cut only branches that are less than 2 inches thick to avoid creating large open wounds.