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The Importance of Pruning Trees (An Illustrated Guide)

Pruning trees properly is one of the best ways to ensure that they are vibrant and healthy all year round. Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry, one size fits all method to pruning trees. So it takes a bit of learning and practice to learn how to do it well. Fortunately, this illustrated guide is here to help you. Let’s break it down. 

How do I plan for a tree’s growth when planting?

One of the most common mistakes DIY landscapers (aka homeowners) makes is installing trees too close together. You need to look ahead and see the forest and the trees. Remember, that 10-foot tall red alder is going to grow up to be as much as 120 feet tall, and 40 or 50 feet wide. 

How do I space trees properly?

When spacing trees always consider the full-grown height and width of the trees. While a tree may limit its growth slightly when other trees are planted nearby. You can pretty much bet that a tree will reach at least 80% of its maximum height. And you need to plant accordingly. 

What types of pruning are there?

There are 3 types of pruning; structural pruning, fruit pruning, and ornamental pruning. The type of pruning you will utilize will largely depend on the variety of trees and your specific goals. For example, you will prune a pine tree, differently than you will prune a crape myrtle.


What are the key components of structural pruning?

Structural pruning involves suppressing the growth of a tree in areas that have bark inclusions. Spacing the main branches along the dominant trunk. Identifying the lowest branches in the permanent canopy and preventing branches from growing beneath it. 

What are the key components of ornamental pruning?

The main components of ornamental pruning are reducing or maintaining the plant's size. Removing unsightly growth, and shaping the tree with an artistic form. 

Pruning trees properly is crucial for their health. This guide covers planning for growth when planting, spacing trees, types of pruning (structural, fruit, ornamental), and key components for each. It's a blend of practicality and artistry, but mastering it takes time. 

This infographic was made by Urban Forest Pro, check them out for more great tips on how to maintain your healthy trees.

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