University of Florida

Home > Nursery tree production > Specifications/standards > Clarifying usage > Clarifying subordination

Clarifying usage of grades and standards: subordination

Frustrating issue: No branch subordination is allowed on the job site (trees are rejected that would pass with minor subordination), yet the inspector will not go to the field to demonstrate what they want. It makes it a gamble every time you go onto one of their jobsites.

What grades and standards says: The document refers to this type of pruning in one sentence on page 10 in the Florida #1 text on the bottom left portion of the page. It says "A noticeable but small void will be left in the crown after removing the top portion of one of the trunks."

Summary statement: This statement in the document encourages professionals to subordinate (reduce the length of) one of the stems if there are two codominant stems. This is a recognized, appropriate arboricultural procedure in practice today. It is not essential for this pruning wound to be closed before the tree is planted in the landscape. The tree could technically be downgraded based on canopy symmetry if the resulting void was large enough. But in the overall long run, this is likely to be a small issue.