Formative pruning is important for the development of sound structural form in the majority of young trees. It should only be conducted by trained and experienced arborists.
Formative pruning should occur regularly during the establishment phase of the trees growth. Minor formative pruning to remove broken for unstable branches may be required at planting and is usually applied annually or biannually depending on the species until the main structure has been established as required for the circumstances and species.
Formative pruning ensures structural defects such as tight or defective unions, rubbing/crossing limbs, crowded shoots and epicormic growth and managed or removed. A few small cuts made while a tree is young can not only increase the viable lifespan, but could potentially save thousands of dollars trying to retrospectively fix the issues when the tree is mature.
Formative pruning can also be used to train a tree into a specialised shape, such as in pollarding or espalier.