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Case study of form at planting on longevity

Track the growth of these two oaks through the first 18 years of their life in a parking lot. This makes it very clear why pruning at planting to create a super-dominant leader really does matter.

Tree with great form is planted. There is one super-dominant leader to the top of a maple (top) and oak (below).

Tree with terrible form. Do not plant trees that look like this. The right stem needs to be removed and upright stems on the retained left stem need to be shortened.

Tree with fair form is planted, but the stems competing with the leader at the top of the crown were not pruned at planting.

Well structured tree 4 years after planting

Poorly structured tree 4 years after planting

Good form 8 years later

Poor form and breaking trees 8 years later

Acceptable for 13 years later

Tree needs to be removed 13 years later