Sometimes a tree must be reduced in height or spread to maintain health and reduce the potential hazards from its extending branches. But an improper pruning can ruin or greatly reduce its landscape potential, writes master gardener and urban forester Dennis Tompkins. For proper pruning, it's important to know the tree's natural shape and size to help decide what to cut, he adds. Pruners should remove damaged or diseased branches or ones that cross or alter the shape of the tree, Tompkins suggests.

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