Living Sculptures

Function meets form in the art of pruning. Train your trees to fit into your environment. Work around the structural features of your yard and home by training your trees to frame your landscape.  Science meets art when trees are pruned to flourish in their natural environment while providing the function they were chosen for.

610HyupD9pL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Edward Gilman – exhaustive study of tree structure and a tree’s reaction to pruning to understand how trees can flourish while providing the function they were intended for.  For example, trees that line our streets that flourish into large structurally sound specimens provide a rich environment for flora, fauna, and citizens.  “The main objective of pruning is to extend the serviceable life of trees” (Gilman, 2012). The science of pruning is equivalent to preventative arboriculture that prevents defects leading to early demise of trees.



axel erlandson 2Axel Erlandson

Credited as bringing art to pruning, Axel Erlandson, the self-proclaimed ‘tree-talker’, trained trees as a hobby. His creations spanned a vast array of unusual formations that seemingly defied nature. Interestingly, his designs were pre-planned on paper and intricately followed.  Primack, a young architect determined to save Erlandson’s creations from destruction following his death, was quoted to say “I know of no other single person who has taken ornamental grafting to such an extreme. It is not just an oddity.  It demonstrates an intriguing option for improving our environment by creating an absolutely unique space of living sculpture.” Wikipedia


Gilman, E. F. (2012) An Illustrated Guide to Pruning; Third Edition. Delmar Cengage Learning.

Photo 1: Axel Erlandson,

Photo 2: Axel Erlandson, basket tree,

photo 3: codominant leader, – example of subordinating codominant leader for the purpose of establishing dominant leader.

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