Effects of structural pruning on red maple trunk movement in wind

2007 | Ed Gilman and Forrest Masters, University of Florida and Jason Grabosky, Rutgers University

This project sought to determine the influence of structural pruning on wind-induced shade tree canopy dynamics. Structural pruning uses reduction and removal cuts to slow growth on the largest codominant stem that competes with the main leader. Twenty-five-foot tall trees 8 to 9 inches dbh were pruned structurally according to A-300 pruning standards. Pruning was performed just prior to blowing the canopies with a wind-generating machine producing a 10’ by 25’ wind field. Trees were blown in wind up to 60 mph and included real-world gusts and vortices measured in real storms, while measuring motion and strain of the trunk and two stems. This project was designed to answer the question: “Does structural pruning enhance ability of trees to withstand winds up to category one hurricane force?” This will help guide arborists to develop meaningful pruning treatments for shade trees.


Study Conclusion

Structurally pruning to reduce the length of upright branches competing with the leader on young red maple (Acer rubrum L. ‘Florida Flame’) trees does indeed reduce the risk of wind-induced tree failure.


Year: 2007

Funding Duration: 3-5 years

Grant Program: Hyland R. Johns

Grant Title: Effects of Structural Pruning on Red Maple Trunk Movement in Wind

Researcher: Ed Gilman

Key words: Acer rubrum; damping; decurrent; dynamics; excurrent; natural frequency; pruning; red maple; tree biomechanics

Peer Reviewed Publications from Grant:

  • Gilman, Edward F. 2015. Pruning Acer rubrum at Planting Impacts Structure and Growth After Three Growing Seasons. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 41(4): 11-17. View the Publication >
  • Gilman, Edward F., Miesbauer, Jason W., Giurcanu, Mihai. 2014. Effects of Tree Crown Structure on Dynamic Properties of Acer rubrum L. ‘Florida Flame.’ Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 40(4): 218-229. View the Publication >

General Audience/Trade Publications:


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