Landscaping with Cut Branches

Cutting Branches, breaking them down, and reusing them!

How to prune trees and use the branches for landscape

Types of trees have different rates and patterns of growth. A pine tree, for example, prefers to retain a center trunk; while others like a maple tree are content to have several branches shooting off and up from a low trunk. For this article I will use a Crepe Mrytle tree cluster.


Maintaining architecture and landscape often means removing trees or branches before or after they break and damage property, views, paths, people, etc…

Crepe Mrytle do not die in the Winter in the DC area (although they do in more Northern climates). They do lose their leaves though. They are one of the fastest growing trees in our climate, so they provide a good example of a renewable landscape resource. Most people only know them for their beauty.

Crepe Mrytle’s by a porch are destructive to the architecture. They need cutting because their leaves and seeds clog up the roof gutter (even with gutter guards) and downspout, causing water damage to the wooden porch. When it rains during the summer, the thick foliage tends to retain moisture against the porch, which flakes the paint and rots the wood much faster than leaving the porch exposed to let the wood air out, and the sun dry it.

For a more natural type of architecture, pruning is less necessary. But most modern houses do not want leaking roofs, moldy wood, or animals nests in the framework. Although every owner is different too!


If cut before new Spring leaves come out, there will be no leaves to deal with. Leaves have a faster rate of decomposition and burn. After cutting the selected branches, it may be necessary to drag them from the original location as soon as possible to keep a path clear etc..


After dragging the branches to a selective, collective location, you can work on them with least interference regarding the functionality of the property.


Sometimes (as with these) small branches can be broken from the main branches by hand (and foot) if they are dry enough. Although often the branches will tend to bend and not crack off; so axes, machete, and clippers are needed.


Begin breaking and cutting branches into smaller pieces that fit their next use; longer ones for fences, walls, structures, poles, etc… and shorter ones sized to fit into fireplaces or stoves.


Already many of the small branches are removed and the body of the larger branches can be seen more clearly


A pile of small branches or twigs begins to form, as the larger branches are rolled back and forth to strip away all lesser branches for a middle pile


3 piles: Large branch poles, middle sized branch sticks, and small brush twigs from the outer-most young branches


You can use branches for landscape structures, boundaries, and follies!

English Walnut and Crepe Mrytle Teewam


0109131641aEagle Nest of random fallen or cut branches















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