Damaged Serviceberry Tree



Our Serviceberry tree was damaged in the last snow storm. See photo attached. Wondering if we should just cut the whole branch off or if it would be okay to cut off the lower part of the branch that is damaged and keep the upper part of the branch that has less damage. Or should we remove everything as the bark is gone and the wood is exposed?


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners about your damaged Serviceberry tree (Amelanchier spp.). In general for trees, it is best to remove a damaged branch at the branch collar, that is where the branch grows out from the trunk. It is important that this pruning cut be done properly, with a special three-cut process and the right saw if the limb being removed is larger than 1.5 inches, and not flush with the trunk, which will remove the branch collar that helps the tree to heal from the wound, and not too far out from the truck, which will leave a stub that is prone to disease and insect infestation. However, all of this being said, I can’t be sure by looking at your photo, but it looks like it is the trunk (also known as the leader) itself that is broken. Cutting off the leader is usually quite harmful to the tree and is not recommended. It will weaken the tree by reducing its capacity to make food to sustain itself. It will likely lead to the growth of suckers and weak, undesirable and unattractive replacement branches, and it will significantly change the appearance and shape of the tree.

I think your best bet is to have a certified arborist take a look at your tree, to determine what your options are. Hopefully with the right pruning, your tree can be saved and restored to good health. These websites could help you in your search for a certified arborist :

Landscape Ontario

International Society of Arboriculture

Best of luck with your lovely Serviceberry tree.

March 14, 2023