Branch connection areas are structurally weak zones that generate many mature tree problems. To minimize this effect, proper training concentrates upon branch location and attachment. In broad-leaved or hardwood trees, branches should be attached alternately along the main stem. Arborists should not allow two or more branches to survive attached across from each other at the same horizontal position on a stem. Branches should alternate from one side of the stem to the other as height increases. Distance between major, alternately placed branches on the primary axis of the tree should minimally be 5% of total height.
Trees that normally develop branches in an opposite pattern should be corrected back to alternate branching for as high as possible. Thereafter the tree can be allowed to revert to natural branching patterns. The key is to quickly develop an inherently strong stem and bury compartmented weak zones deep in the center of the tree as it ages.
Do not alternately train evergreen needled trees that develop many branches per whorl separated by a long internode. Thinning the number of branches on each whorl to 3 or 4 in independent locations around the stem should be completed. Stagger branch locations on adjacent whorls so one branch is not directly over the top of another. Training generates a natural looking tree that can safely and efficiently develop over time.