Q. We have two fantex ash trees that are 15 years old. They are spreading out too far. How far can we cut them back without killing them?
A. The problem with ash is that it does not have much ability to come back from cut limbs if you cut back too far and into larger wood. You should begin to structure the tree fairly early and stay on top of it but if you let it go too long and then cut it back you may have some problems.
You can cut it back to side branches that are growing in a desirable direction but you cannot prune it back by what we call heading cuts (stubbing it back) and hoping these dead end cuts will resprout. You can cut back into second or maybe three year old wood (there are still side buds remaining that can grow) but if you cut into a limb with no buds present, it will probably die back to a major limb.
So cut a branch to a crotch going in
the direction you want the limbs coming from that crotch to grow. If a limb is
a problem, remove the entire limb back to its source. Do not leave any stubs
(dead end cuts).
|Thinning cut, removal of an entire limb, on|
a peach tree.
I hope this makes sense. I will put on my blog a picture of a thinning cut made removing a larger limb.