Valley Forge elm, age 9 years, located on private property in Acton, MA

(Photograph by Todd Carley, August 25, 2007)

The tree shown in this photograph is an outstanding example of a Valley Forge elm that has been pruned correctly with good results. The lowest crotch is about 11 feet above the ground. Not only have all branches below that height been pruned off (thus strengthening the central crotches above them), but so have all side branches above that height which had been emerging at a pronounced angle and so creating a further potential for splitting. (That is, no hefty branches should be forking directly off to the side of the tree under any of its main limbs, nor straggling out too far.) Note that the remaining branches are strongly vertical and consistent with a developing vase shape. For a final aesthetic touch, the main limbs have been exposed at their bases, with all lateral branches removed from that region. At this stage, the tree ostensibly will take care of itself with little or no further need for corrective pruning. This photograph could be considered as an excellent visual guide to the proper pruning of this cultivar.