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Publication #ENH1062

Chapter 12—Developing a Preventative Pruning Program: Young Trees1

Edward F. Gilman and Amanda Bisson2


Trees growing in urban and suburban landscapes offer many benefits to the community. However, when a tree or part of a tree breaks, it can cause extensive damage to people and /or property. A preventive pruning program is an important tool used to help mitigate the risks from tree defects. Preventive pruning helps to promote good structure, making trees more resistant to storms and other natural forces. This fact sheet describes the components of preventative structural pruning, discusses how to determine pruning objectives, the pruning cycle and, lastly, proposes how to implement a preventative pruning plan for young trees in your community.

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This document is ENH 1062, one of the Urban Forest Hurricane Recovery Program series of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 2007. Reviewed February 2017. Visit the EDIS website at and


Edward F. Gilman, professor; and Amanda Bisson, doctor in plant health; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.