MIS308 Tree Pruning

MIS308 Tree Pruning

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MIS308 Tree Pruning - 2nd ed. 

Minimum Industry Standard series

Members Price is for Members of The New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZARB).

The vision of NZ Arb is to represent the arboriculture community and make it the primary organisation for tree care and to maintain relevancy to the Association’s members, so if you are in the NZ tree care industry please consider joining NZARB by clicking the link above if you are not already a member.


This book is one in a series of Minimum Industry Standards produced by Arboriculture Australia Ltd and the New Zealand Arboricultural Association in consultation with the national arboriculture community in both countries. These industry peer-reviewed documents provide a ‘body of knowledge’ which is shared by practitioners and can be used as the basis for training, dissemination of skills and professional development.

This document covers the work task of tree pruning, including a brief summary of the underpinning knowledge necessary to select and perform suitable pruning operations to achieve a variety of objectives. This document is not a ‘standalone’ document, and must be read in conjunction with other Minimum Industry Standards which describe safe arboricultural work practices.



Pruning trees 

  • Introduction to tree pruning
  • How to use this Minimum Industry Standard 

1: Pruning considerations 

Tree health considerations 

  • The tree as a living organism
  • Tree species
  • Foliage retention: loss of photosynthetic material 
  • Tree growth habits 
  • Pruning impacts: physiological impacts 
  • Compartmentalisation and barriers to decay 
  • Occlusion 
  • Age and health of tree 
  • Pruning objectives by age class 
  • Biosecurity and transmission of pathogens 
  • Examples of transmissible tree diseases 
  • Timing of pruning operations 

Tree structural considerations 

  • The tree as a biomechanical structure 
  • Axiom of uniform stress 
  • Thigmomorphogenesis 
  • Strategy of flexibility 
  • Foliage distribution 
  • Foliage distribution: torsional failure 
  • Foliage distribution: mass damping 
  • Foliage distribution: interconnectedness and environmental exposure 
  • Growth habit and structure 
  • Branch and stem attachment 
  • Strength of branch and stem unions 
  • Co-dominant stems 
  • Crossing or rubbing branches 
  • Natural bracing 
  • Epicormic shoots 

Ecological considerations 

  • The tree as a keystone structure 
  • The ecological value of deadwood 
  • Retention of habitat 


2: Pruning operations 

  • Pruning specifications 

R: Reduction pruning

  • Crown reduction

T: Crown thinning 

AC: Asset clearance 

  • Asset clearance: vegetation management around electrical conductors 
  • Vegetation management around utility infrastructure 

C: Crown lifting 

RA: Risk abatement pruning 

  • Risk abatement pruning practices 
  • D: Deadwood removal 
  • Retaining deadwood in mature and veteran trees 
  • WR: branch or stem weight reduction 
  • Weight reduction: thinning 
  • Weight reduction: reduction pruning 
  • Pruning classes for weight reduction 
  • Weight reduction pruning techniques 



H: Remedial pruning 

RT: Retrenchment pruning 

  • Developing a retrenchment plan 
  • Example retrenchment pruning plan: exotic species 
  • Example retrenchment pruning plan: typical Australian species 

F: Formative pruning 

SP: Structural pruning 

ER: Epiphyte / parasite and vine removal 

P: Pollarding 

PP: Palm pruning 

Poor pruning practices 

  • Lopping and topping 
  • Flush cutting 
  • Wound painting 

3: Conducting pruning 

Tree pruning permits and tree protection laws 

Tools and equipment for tree pruning 

Biosecurity measures 

  • Clean On / Clean Off procedure

Tree access for pruning 

Making pruning cuts 

  • Bad working positions 
  • Good working positions 
  • Pruning cut sequence 
  • Cut sequence and branch behaviour 

Pruning cuts 

  • Branch reduction cuts 
  • Examples of incorrect branch reduction cuts 
  • Stem reduction cuts 
  • Branch removal cuts (living branches) 
  • Branch removal cuts (deadwood) 
  • Fracture pruning and coronet cuts 
  • Fracture pruning 
  • Fracture pruning techniques 
  • Coronet cuts 
  • Coronet cut techniques 
  • Root pruning 

Completing tree works

  • Processing debris 
  • Completion of works 

The care of trees





Minimum Industry Standards

The Minimum Industry Standard series is dedicated to all our fellow workers who have lost their lives or have been permanently injured working in the arboriculture and vegetation management industries.

The Minimum Industry Standards project is an Arboriculture Australia led initiative that the NZ Arb is pleased and proud to be involved with. Having joined the programme, NZ Arb works alongside Arboriculture Australia to develop these Minimum Industry Standards. Each Minimum Industry Standard (MIS) provides the key knowledge that is necessary to perform the work task.


Dimensions 150 x 210 mm
Pages 169
Cover Soft Cover
Binding Wire-O