Effect of pruning on the stability of trees in windstorms

2007 | Ken James, Brunley College, Brian Kane, University of Massachusetts, and Nelda Matheney and James Clark, Hortscience

Tree stability in winds and the effect of how pruning can change wind loads on trees is still not well understood.  While trees provide many benefits to urban and suburban landscapes, they can cause catastrophic damage when they fail.  In the United States, a growing climate of liability and concern for public safety has increased the need to identify conditions that may lead to tree failure, and to substantiate decisions to retain or remove trees.  Recent studies of shade trees have investigated the effects of defects such as decay and included bark, but there is still a pressing need to develop knowledge about thresholds for such defects.  Furthermore, a better understanding of wind loading of shade trees is critical when assessing structural stability and the potential of failure.

This project used dynamic structural methods to study large trees under high wind conditions, providing real data of wind loads on trees.  Different tree species were monitored at various sites around the world.

Year: 2007

Funding Duration: 3-5 years

Grant Program: Hyland Johns

Grant Title: Effect of Pruning on the Stability of Trees in Windstorms

Researcher: Ken James

Key words: risk assessment; stability; wind load; pruning

Peer Reviewed Publications from Grant:

  • Kane, B. 2017. Pruning. Chapter 27 In: Routledge Handbook of Urban Forestry. Ferrini, F., C. Konijnendijk van den Bosch, and A. Fini (Eds.). Taylor & Francis, NY, NY.
  • Kane, B. and James, K. 2011. Dynamic properties of open-grown deciduous trees. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. Vol 41. pp.321-330. View the Publication >

General Audience/Trade Publications:


For more information on this project, contact the researcher via TREE Fund at treefund@treefund.org.