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Stewardship Pruning

In the forest, trees compete against one another for resources and light. As a result, juvenile trees race for the upper canopy in search of light, developing a single stem while producing well-spaced lateral limbs to shade out their competitors. As the density of the canopy increases, the low lateral limbs are shaded out resulting in a decrease of food and energy production. Over time, trees will naturally shed the branches that fail to produce sufficient photosynthates, the outcome of which is a large, single-stem tree with little to no branches in the upper canopy. This natural form is lost for a great number of species when trees are planted in the open, urban environment. At Tree Savvy, we aim to mimic the natural form of trees through our Stewardship pruning – included with every tree that we grow and plant!

All too often, trees are planted too deep and left to grow wildly and without form, developing tight and weakened branch attachments that are at a higher risk of failure. Tree preservation begins with preventative maintenance – encouraging the tree to grow as though it were still in its native forest setting. 

For each tree that is grown and planted by Tree Savvy, we include five consecutive, annual structure prunes to promote a strong, long-lasting, and proper form. In the process of the stewardship pruning, we first eliminate select lower limbs to begin “raising the canopy”, aiming for a 50:50 crown-to-trunk ratio. In this instance, we are the shade of the forest! Second, we subordinate select limbs to reduce the amount of growth directed towards stem elongation and diameter, in turn selecting a central, dominant leader while preventing the development of any codominant stems and weak branch attachments. At the time of pruning, the limbs that are removed are roughly 1” in diameter, equating to a shorter period for the tree to seal over the wound. Stewardship pruning and routine pruning after the five-year period enables our communities’ trees to thrive, not just survive!

We at Tree Savvy like to equate stewardship and structure pruning to getting an engine oil change; don’t wait until your engine has seized to schedule an oil change, get the service done now!


Proper tree management begins at planting and continues with recurring, proper pruning – we focus on ensuring the trees in our urban forest thrive rather than simply survive.

ABOUT Pruning

Stewardship Pruning

At Tree Savvy, we aim to mimic the natural forest form of trees through our Stewardship pruning – included with every tree that we grow and plant!

About Training

Adolescent Trees

If trees are not trained correctly when they are young, you may miss out on the many benefits that a mature tree provides. Learn more about adolescent tree services here.

ABOUT Adolescent Trees

Mature Trees

The preservation of old, mature trees will always be advocated over their removal. Learn more about our approach to mature tree care.

ABOUT Mature Trees

Cabling And Bracing

For certain trees, the risk of failure can be mitigated through the installation of supplemental support systems such as a static or dynamic cable and brace rods coupled with systematic pruning.

ABOUT Cabling And Bracing

Storm Damage Cleanup

Every tree, whether it be in the forest or your backyard, is susceptible to storm damage. We take a four-step approach: assess, clean, restore, maintain.

ABOUT Storm Damage Cleanup
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