Sassafras Trees

Sassafras Tree Losing Branches Annually

gardeninGAL added on May 23, 2017 | Answered

I was told that a sassafras tree is trouble free and never needs pruning. Yet every spring at least two to five branches on our tree do not bud or leaf out and I have to take them off. This was easy to do when the tree was young, but this year there are two branches in the upper canopy that are leafless and there is no way for me to reach them. Is it normal for a sassafrass tree to lose that many branches yearly, or is our soil poor or weather too difficult for it? We live in zone 5, have acidic loamy to clay-like soil and the tree is planted on the southwest corner of our property. Beside this yearly loss of branches, the tree appears healthy and happy. Thank you for your help.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on May 25, 2017

Pruning is rarely needed in a Sassafras Tree, but in the case of winter die back , these branches can be removed. These trees are vulnerable to wind and ice damage as the wood is brittle.

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