Pruning requires significant investment, therefore, the aim of the study was to characterize occlusion of branch wounds and changes in radial increment as well as frequency of browsing damages after pruning of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) in order to provide data for financial calculations and recommendations for practical forestry. Altogether 1,614 pruned and 4,368 unpruned trees from 45 Norway spruce stands were measured and cored. Degree of wound occlusion and browsing damages were assessed, and additional volume increment estimated in each stand. Pruning resulted in significant increase of length of branch-free section: for unpruned trees it was 0.3 ± 0.07 m, but for pruned 3.4 ± 0.10 m. Branch wounds for most of the trees (68%) were filled with resin (occluded), for lower share of trees (31%) – still open, but for some trees (1%) completely occluded. Branch wound occlusion rate was not affected by differences in stand density, but was significantly affected by stand age: proportion of trees with occluded branch scars increased with age. Trees with occluded branch wounds had a significantly higher increase in tree ring width after the pruning in comparison to the period before pruning than trees with open branch wounds, emphasizing the importance of radial increment in development of branch-free layer of wood. Pruning resulted in minor (−7% or −0.28 ± 0.05 m3 ha−1) reduction of annual increment that was statistically significant only up to 3 years after this forest management activity for stands younger than 17 years and with mean height up to 10.5 m. Pruned trees were significantly more browsed than unpruned (6.1% and 2.7%, respectively).

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Plant Science, Ecology, other