The Art of Pruning

Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.


When my family first moved to our new home, our yard was gorgeous. Lush green grass, nice bushes, pretty ground cover---then the California drought hit. My parents, being the responsible environmentalists that they are, stopped watering the yards. It all went to hell. Well, years and years later, instead of four Japanese maples, we now only have one and a half (the second is more of a stump with some tiny branches). As the only member of the family with a green thumb, I decided to salvage whatever beauty was left in that elegant, purple leafed tree, so I pruned away. To prune is to cut off the dead and dying parts of a plant so that it can divert more energy into sustaining the living parts and creating new ones, but that’s a pretty limited definition. Pruning is truly an art. When a branch is cut from the left side of a tree, more nutrients are sent to the right side of the tree, ultimately directing its future growth. It’s a wonderfully methodical and peaceful process.

This wasn’t my first time pruning. A neighbor had given me her little potted lemon tree before she moved away, and, like my maples, the drought hit it hard. But one day, I decided to cut off all the sad, brown, leafless branches, and within a month, tiny deep...

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