Proper pruning can improve wind resilience and reduce tree failure during windstorms. However, proper pruning does not include the practice of topping which misshapes and destroys the trees branching structure.
Structural issues that cause trees to fail in a windstorm:
Codominant stems- stems of equal size originating from the same point on the tree
Included bark- is bark pinched between two stems creating a weak union.
Unbalanced canopy- one side of the tree canopy is much heavier than the other, or when most of the canopy weight is at the tips of branches.
Lions-tailing or over-lifting- a poor pruning practice that removes all of the live foliage along the lower and interior parts of the main branches
Large lower limbs- Large limbs left to grow may also develop structural defects such as excessive end weight.
To form and maintain healthy landscape trees, proper care and maintenance should be practiced in tree selection, location and maintenance--while property owners and communities should seek advice from certified arborists at www.isa-arbor.com . For more University of Florida information on proper tree pruning call the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service Master Gardener Volunteer Hotline M-F 9-4 at 233-1750. .