The trees around your Palo Alto or San Jose neighborhood are complex organisms. While many people might think that taking care of a tree is as simple as making sure it gets watered every day, the process actually requires much more work than that. One of the most common and important tree maintenance activities is pruning.

Tree pruning helps in controlling a tree’s growth. The process of snipping off some branches at certain intervals helps ensure a tree maintains good structure and appearance. Also, as a tree grows, some of its branches will die and rot. Cutting off these dead branches will protect the rest of the tree from the insects and decay-causing organisms that might have found a home on them.

Joyce Kilmer’s well-known poem, Trees, vividly illustrates the undisputed beauty of the wooden wonders from where he derived inspiration. Still, like all other life forms, trees are bound to expire at some point in their lives—despite the fact that they take decades or even centuries to do so.

This was the fate of 79 dead trees at a defunct golf course in Escondido, California. J. Harry Jones of U-T San Diego writes about their fate:

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