My 12 foot gingko (now 8 feet) lost its leader during a severe storm Monday night. It’s now topped by a splintered stob. Any advice on what I should do, pruning-wise, to help it? Thanks for any and all suggestions.
You need to look for another branch that could be a possible leader. It should be as upright and close to the main trunk as possible. Remove all the growth above the new leader with a clean cut. If any lower branches are taller than the new leader, cut them to a bud or branch a few inches below the height of the new leader. This will assure apical dominance in your new leader and the tree will grow accordingly.
Here is a link to Margaret’s Pruning FAQ’s (they can also be found in the far left menu midway down the page.) She explains the basics of how to make cuts, and the faq contains a great picture illustrating how to make a three-step cut which is necessary to remove any heavy branches without tears. For information more specific to trees check out the International Society of Arboriculture’s website and specifically their pruning young trees page.
Let me know if you have any questions about my instructions. I might be able to find a better picture of what you need to do.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.