Fine deadwood refers to all dead branches and twigs with a diameter less than 1/4″ in diameter. Removing dead branches of that diameter is useful when a perfectly clean appearance is necessary, or when the incidence of disease in a particular species warrants such sanitary practices.
Fine deadwood removal on a Colorado Blue Spruce in Red Deer
Fine “dead-wooding” is very common technique to enhance the appearance of spruce trees. It also makes a dramatic difference to specimen plants such as Rocky Mountain Juniper, old cedar trees in front of livingroom windows, many species of shrubs, or anytime you have the time and energy to clean up almost any woody plant.
Generally, I use this technique on most of my pruning projects. The only exception is in very large trees, like American elms or ‘Northwest’ Poplars, where it is largely unnecessary to remove deadwood of this diameter.