Miesbauer, J.W., E.F. Gilman and M. Giurcanu

Effects of tree crown structure on dynamic properties of Acer rubrum L. 'Florida Flame'

Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 40 (4): 218-229


Knowledge of tree dynamic properties is important to improve one's ability to assess tree risk. Pull-and-release tests were performed on 16 Acer rubrum L. 'Florida Flame' trees in summer and winter over a two-year period, and natural frequency and damping ratios were calculated. One year prior to testing, trees were designated as either excurrent or decurrent and pruned to impose that form. During summer tests, trees were pruned to maintain designated form, and tests were performed before and after pruning. Trees were then systematically dissected to measure morphological and allometric characteristics. Excurrent trees had a higher natural frequency than decurrent trees in summer and winter, and pruning in summer increased the frequency of excurrent trees more than decurrent trees. Tree form and pruning had little effect on damping ratio. Decurrent trees had a larger percent of their branch mass in the top half of the crown than excurrent trees, which would subject them to larger wind-induced stress on their trunks and increase the risk of failure.

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