Is Crown Twist Affecting Your Landscape Trees?

A tree's growth habit and form are determined by many factors, including the species of the tree, its exposure to wind and sun, and the way it is pruned. The crown twist is a growth habit that can be detrimental to a tree's stability and appearance. The crown begins to twist in a spiral pattern as it grows. This twist is down the grain of the wood, so it can affect the entire tree canopy.

Cause of Crown Twist

There is usually no one factor that causes twisting. Instead, several things occur that lead to the issue. For example, a tree planted in an area with insufficient sunlight may begin to twist as it seeks to grow into a better-lighted area. Wind from seasonal storms then puts pressure on the already twisting crown, making the problem even more pronounced. 

Improper trimming or skipping pruning entirely are often contributing factors to the twist. A tree with heavier growth on one side, such as often occurs with limited sun exposure, may begin to twist if the excess growth isn't pruned to keep the crown in balance. Trimming one side more heavily than the other can also contribute to twisting. 

Problems And Concerns

Crown twisting is more than a cosmetic concern, it can impact the tree's health as well as pose a safety risk. Trees with twisted crowns are more likely to suffer damage, such as loss of major branches or splitting, during stormy weather. A twisted crown also tends to be heavier on one side, This imbalance can lead to the tree blowing down or developing a lean.

Any risk of a blowdown is a major safety concern. This is especially true if the path of the fall could lead to the tree landing on your home or going into the street. Property damage and severe injury are real concerns that warrant a prompt repair of the tree as soon as you notice the crown is twisting.

Prevention and Repair

Proper pruning when the tree is young is the best prevention. An annual tree trimming will keep the crown symmetrical and well-balanced so it is less likely to develop a twist. Neighboring trees and plants should be kept trimmed, as well, so they do not block too much sunlight from the growing tree.

Reduction and shaping pruning are needed for mature trees. Your tree service will begin by removing the excess growth on one side of the tree so that the crown is better balanced. Annual trims will then be needed to maintain the better form of the crown. 

Contact a tree trimming service to learn more about crown twists and how to prevent them.