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Martin, Engineer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4944
Experience:  i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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My home is in Arizona mountain country, I have a 22 year old

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My home is in Arizona mountain country, I have a 22 year old pine (I don't know the particular species) that is showing signs of severe dryness. Constant watering does not seem to help. I have considered trimming off the lower branches at their base to a height of about 5 feet from the ground. The lower branches are approximately 4-5" in diameter. The pine is about 25' tall. Is this procedure recommended?
HelloCustomer welcome to Just Answer.

I have thousand of pines (mainly jack pine and red pine). I am not familiar with those trees in arid region (here we have plenty of rain and lot of snow cover in winter).

That said, removing some branch will help the tree to evaporate less water. As we don't know much how healty the tree is, the best is to test is metabolism first. You won't be able to see this by looking at branch growth, you will need to cut 1 branch and see how fast he can cover part of the wound with resin (white yellowish wax like). If he can do it in 1 week (or even less) he is fine for the procedure.

Don't cut too many at once as it's still a dry tree. Cut 1 "stage" of branch at a time each week until you reach your 5 feet. That height should be reasonable enough to not expose too much the trunk to the hot sun.

Watering at the root might not be fast enough for him, you might also spray water on him from time to time (should be possible to cover it all as it's not that tall yet). You might also look to fertilize the soil a big around it.

Don't put any paint on the wood after cutting the branch (that is true for a pine or any other tree).
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Good info. I have always thought that painting the the wood after cutting would be the acceptable method. Also, is cutting from the bottom preferred to 'topping' it?
By topping i guess you mean cutting the main aerial trunk. That is never good for a tree (the thuja and some others can tolerate that). The reason is because a branch have a compartments at the place it start from the trunk (you must never cut that knot, always cut just after it). Such a compartments allow isolation from the main capillary network of the trunk. That is why putting paint is not useful and even is detrimental as it keep humidity there so insect and mushroom can get in.

When the trunk is cut from the top, the whole tree structure is exposed to infection and parasite. Not to mention that when the tree will grow a new "head", he will absorb the wound and always carry the scar in it's structure. This will cause the tree to be more breakable in fast wind or any other stress.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks for your attention to my concern. With the information you provided, my wife thinks I'm a genious!