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Evaluating trunk and branch structure

See: photos of tree quality

trunk structure illustration1) Trunk structure: Shade trees that are large at maturity, and most evergreen trees, with the best quality have a dominant or central leader or trunk up to the top of the canopy. Shade trees of lesser quality have two or more leaders or trunks; they could split apart as they grow older. Small ornamental trees can have several trunks. (Note: Trees are drawn without leaves or small diameter branches to show their trunk and branch structure only. The end portions of large diameter branches are also cut off to save space in the illustration. These drawings apply to evergreens as well as deciduous trees).

2) Branch structure: The better quality, large-maturing shade trees (lower extreme left) have all branches less than about two-thirds the trunk diameter. Poor quality shade trees (lower left center) have larger upright branches. Trees such as crapemyrtle and other small-maturing trees can have several trunks. Trees with extensive defects in branches such as cracks and included bark (lower right) represent lesser qualtity than trees free of these potential problems. Included bark can be seen between the two arrows below. Branches with bark inclusions are weakly attached to the tree and can split easily.

branch structure illustrationbranch structure