How To Shape Trees Like a Pro and the Tools Needed

Do you ever face difficulty in dealing with your trees shape issues? Well, many people around us face this problem. Keeping an incredible garden with the artistic look is after all not an easy task.  Shaping your trees properly can increase the worth of your garden. Now, it is also difficult to get this work done properly. It involves some skills and tricks.

How to shape trees like a pro and the tools needed? We are going to discuss it all. Either you are looking for tips to make your garden more appealing, or want to polish your tree shaping skills, don’t stop reading here.  Because we hope that the below sections will add a lot to your knowledge. We understand your affection with trees and passion for getting them shaped properly. Therefore, we have picked this topic to describe some tree trimming and pruning techniques that will help you get your trees to the desired shapes.

After reading it, if you are a beginner, you will be able to start doing it all on your own.

What will you need to follow this tutorial?

The tools you are going to use for shaping trees are very important. They will decide the amount of hard work you need to put in and also the final outcome.    

Here is a list of tools you are going to need for shaping your trees: 

  • The basic thing you are going to use the most is Clippers. It is a pair of pruning clippers that you can use easily merely by involving your one hand. They look like a scissor. The difference exists in its power. They are enough strong to cut even few centimeters thick branches. You should buy this tool from trustworthy resources and after testing it several times. It is because if this tool comes up defective, it will affect the shape of your tree by damaging all cuts you make.  
  • The second tool you should have in your access is Shears with long handles. Why do you need it? It is because they are more convenient to use. They play their role in making maneuver easy for you. Also, with their excessive power, they assist in cutting few inches thick branch as well. So, having this tool on hand can make your tree shaping task easier and quicker.
  • You are also going to need Measuring Tape for shaping your tree in a particular way. It is because before making any design you will take basic measurements to perform the process accordingly.  
  • Handsaw or Chainsaw can also come handy for this project. But, you are not going to use it frequently. The reason is this tool is used for heavy projects. However, if you are involved in tree shaping process, you are ultimately going to need it at any point. It can make heavy-duty tasks easier for you. You can cut heavy and large tree branches with it within the short time span. 

Good to Know: Many people think having a power equipped tools are better for tree shaping process. Their fancy features make them feel this way. But, get these tools only if you are involved in huge projects. Otherwise, manual tools are all enough to perform your job perfectly without even making an annoying noise.  

Depending on the size of the tree and how far overgrown it is you’ll need a pole saw that’s capable of reaching higher heights and thicker branches. Manual, electric, or gas powered - a pole saw will let you reach tree tops with ease.

What’s Else: These are the basic tools that you will need to follow this tutorial. But, wait! Do you think is it all to perform this tricky task? No, like all other challenging tasks, shaping a tree also needs some safety measures. Therefore, in order to ensure your safety, take the below-given items with you as well.

  • Goggles: Eyes are one of the most sensitive parts of your body. You never know when a very tiny particle goes inside it and cause a great trouble for you. During tree shaping process, the major time you will spend in is cutting or pruning small branches. In some unfortunate moments, any falling tree branch or even a single leave can seriously hurt your eyes. Therefore, this item is a must-have thing in order to follow this tutorial.
  • Gloves: Shaping a tree speedily looks very attractive. But once you are done with the whole process, you realize the number of bruises and scratches you have gotten on your hands. These wounds later take many days to heal and cause serious discomfort. Therefore, it is also essential to have some sturdy pair of gloves like the one made up of leather material.
  • Long-sleeved shirt: having naked arms during tree shaping process make you exposed to different troubles. Firstly, when you pass by tree branches, few of them scratch your arms silently merely by rubbing or touching your skin. You can prevent these scratches by wearing the full-sleeved shirt. Secondly, if you are carrying out this process during summer, then high chances are there that mosquitoes and other bugs will enjoy their meals on you. Stop them from doing this evil act by wearing some full-sleeved shirts.

Just a Suggestion: If you are involved in tree shaping process more frequently, then its better to keep a separate shirt or jacket, gloves, and goggles for this activity only. In this way, you will get them easily whenever you feel like giving your garden some artistic look.

How to Shape Trees?

Once you have gathered all required tools for your project, you are all set to shape your trees like a pro. Follow these instructions to do it all successfully.

Step # 1 Assessing and choosing the right Tree

It is the first step you need to perform in order to shape your tree like a pro. Why do you need this step? It is because giving your tree some creative fine shape is not an easy task. You can only do this accurately if you choose the right type of tree.

Select the tree that looks like final shape the most. In this way, you will need to put less effort.

Step #2 Remove dead parts away

Your efforts will go in vain if your perfectly shaped tree has some dead ugly-looking leaves or branches. Or, the whole tree shape will be destroyed on getting dead parts broken after few days of shaping.

Therefore, take some time out. Trim your tree properly and remove all dead leaves or small branches. Make it clean and then start thinking about its appropriate type of shape.

The thing to remember: you can’t shape your tree perfectly at once. It may take even years. So don’t worry about small cuts and gaps. The tree will fill it by growing new branches in the coming years.

Step # 3 Take measurements and analyze tree

Once you have decided the requisite shape according to the tree’s natural growth pattern, next step is to take measurements. Why would you do this?

It is always better to make a pre-plan before performing the actual task. What if you start trimming your tree just on guessing the shape? It will completely destroy your tree.

Therefore, start with taking measurements of trees major branches. Then identify the points where you will make cuts to get the desired output.

Pro Tip: It can be a good option to make a rough sketch of the trees natural shape and the desired shape. In this way, you can visualize your tree properly and take decisions accordingly. Making a shaping plan will also clear many ambiguous points to you.   

Step # 4 Locate the central point

The central point or main branch of the tree plays an important role in its shaping process. Because it is the focal point around which your whole design rotates.

For example, you are going to make a cone shape. You will do it around the central branch. Even for making a ball at the tree top, you will need to do it around the central part.

Locate the main branch of your tree. Figure out your whole tree shaping plan around this branch.

Step# 5 Make a rough cut

As we have already mentioned, shaping a tree involves a lot of patience and hard work. You cannot get a final perfect shape at once.

Therefore, start your process by making a rough cut on tree’s branches present at the considerably outer part. Once you are done with them, move towards the inner branches.

For making a rough cut, your long-handled shears can help you.

Pro Tip: Don’t hurry! Trim your tree branches slowly and by continuously analyzing the branches. Otherwise, you won’t even realize and your tree will lose its major branch that was supposed to be the center of your art.  

Step # 7 Give required shape  

This is the most important step. It involves your intense care and precision. Your secateurs will work perfectly here.

Remember, giving any shape involves trimming that part in a particular way. For example, in order to make a cone, you just need to do trimming in an inclined way. For this, however, you need to check the shape by going away from the tree continuously.

For making a ball at the top of the tree, you just need to trim leaves and branches present at the main branch under your ball. 

You can even make peacock or any other animal face on trees.

Pro Tip: You can take the help of some frames to give an even shape to your tree. Like, you want a same sized circle for all trees. You can make a ring by using some wire. Even for shaping shrubs, you can get customized frames that only allow these shrubs to grow according to these frames.   


So, here is our guideline that can help you in shaping trees like a pro. We hope you have enjoyed reading this piece! Many people start bluntly shaping their trees. It is actually very unfair and cruel for the plants. It then takes years for plants to grow to their full size again. It might appear like a piece of cake, but actually, it is not. 

One should know all details and steps to perform this process. Only then, they should start shaping their trees. This is the reason, we have presented out little effort to make people aware of all crucial points that they should consider before touching these natural beauties.