Many laterals find sunlight and space low in our "living" area over the lawn, driveway or house.
While a leader is the one permanent part of a tree, many of the laterals are temporary.
Many of our urban settings provide ample sunlight even from the side(s) of trees. This is a very abnormal luxury. There are clear benefits but also lots of consequences that must be dealt with. With so little competition for sun the leader’s terminal bud gets "lazy" and chemically releases many of its lateral buds to grow sideways. This causes the full, wide habit we value.
Many laterals find sunlight and space low in our "living" area over the lawn, driveway or house. We normally do not tolerate limbs there. The first time a limb knocks your hat off while mowing, out come the loppers. Where do we cut? It can be tempting to remove only the conflicting part so it's less invasive and more "green" is preserved. But is the problem solved? How does the tree respond?
Where a lateral limb is solidly attached to a leader by a branch bark ridge and branch collar - the 2 structures together are known as a branch protection zone (BPZ). If a connection lacks a BPZ and, instead, has a bark inclusion it will fail and must be removed. If the lateral does posses a BPZ we must determine if it should be a permanent lateral. If it is determined to be temporary,when do we remove it and where do we cut?