Trees are all tall and bare

Asked July 16, 2017, 10:33 PM EDT

I have a rental that the trees and shrubs have gotten out of control. There was a lot of dead branches which I have cut out. Some of them I could actually get the root just by bending them they came out.
They look dead but way up high there are leaves. Not sure what to do. I have more pictures.

Also, I have a ton of volunteer trees coming up all over, all in the wrong places. How can I get rid of these once and forever.

Thank You so much, Mary OBrien

Broomfield County Colorado trees and shrubs

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Removing the dead branches is helpful as it allows more light to reach the lower portions of the tree, which will help some of the lower branches leaf more fully. If there are not branches growing lower on the trunk, unfortunately the tree may not produce new growth in these areas. In some cases, latent buds--or those that are dormant on the trunk, and sprout after the tree loses branches above the buds--may sprout. These form weakly-attached branches that may break under stress, so it is advisable to prune them off.

Since these are mature trees that have not been on a regular pruning schedule, it may be beneficial to contact a certified arborist to have them assess the overall health and structure of the trees. Look for an arborist that is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. The ISA website has a search feature that will allow you to find a certified arborist in your area: http://www.isa-arbor.com/.

It appears from your photo that one of the shrubs may be a lilac. Lilacs can be improved by either renewal pruning or rejuvenation pruning. Renewal pruning involves removing one-third of the oldest, largest stems each year to encourage vigorous new growth. Rejuvenation pruning involves pruning all stems to about 6 inches above the ground and allowing the shrub to regrow from sprouts. Renewal pruning or thinning can then be used to control the size and shape of the plant.

As for the sprouts, there are some products that have been developed to reduce suckering, but they are not always effective, and directions on the label should be closely followed. The only sure way to control suckers is to keep them pruned off.

For more information on the pruning techniques mentioned above, and on pruning mature shade trees in general, see the following Colorado State University Fact Sheets:
Pruning Mature Shade Trees
Pruning Cuts
Pruning Flowering Shrubs