Preservation Horticulture Reference Materials

Park Cultural Landscapes Program

Updated Cultural Landscapes


This collection of documents, forms and publications was complied for a Preservation Horticulture Workshop held in May 2017. These materials are intended to assist maintenance workers in caring for vegetation that is significant to the historic character of a cultural landscape.

Preservation Horticulture Reference Materials

6 Ways to Kill Your Tree: This brochure from Plant Amnesty identifies 6 common actions that limit the life of urban trees.

Tree Pruning: Best Management Practices (Revised 2008): This document from the International Society of Arboriculture addresses when to prune, methods of pruning, tools, and specifications according to ANSI standards for pruning and safety.

Fruit Tree Condition Assessment Form: This form assists in the condition assessment of fruit trees in cultural landscapes and can be used in the field as a fillable electronic document.

Fruit Tree Pruning: This 2-page flier from City Fruit and the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods provides diagrams and basic guidance for pruning fruit trees, with sections on pruning to produce fruit, considerations for old and young trees, and pruning errors.

Hazard Tree Guidelines for Forest Service Facilities and Roads in the Pacific Southwest Region: These guidelines provide consistent direction to identify and abate hazards from trees that are likely to fall and cause injury on Forest Service system roads or Forest Service facilities. It includes mechanisms for assessment, like a hazard rating system and hazard tree evaluation forms.

How Trees React to Wounding – CODIT: A description and image of tree defenses based on the model of CODIT, or “Compartmentalization of Decay in Trees.”

How to Plant a Fruit Tree: These instructions for planting fruit trees was excerpted from How to Plant a Fruit Tree by Ted Swenson of the Home Orchard Society.

How to Prune Trees: This illustrated guide from the US Department of Agriculture covers reasons for pruning, pruning approaches, timing, and general guidelines.

Inspect Your Landscape Trees for Hazards: This California Master Gardener Tip Sheet from the University of California provides guidelines for inspecting trees for common structural defects and potential hazards.

Introduction to Pruning and Basic Tools: Slides from a PowerPoint presentation by Keith Park, NPS Preservation Horticulturist/Arborist and Susan Dolan, NPS Historical Landscape Architect, created for the Preservation Horticulture Workshop in May 2017.

Maintaining the Historic Garden: This article by Martin R. McGann printed in The Public Garden (July 1989) addresses the unique maintenance requirements of historic gardens.

Plant Health Care: This presentation covers plant health care topics, including signs and causes of stress, soil biology, and assessment tools.

Planting Landscape Trees: The University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources offers guidance on planting trees to support their performance. This includes techniques for planting hole preparation, fertilizing, pruning, staking, and watering.

Principles for Preserving Historic Plant Material: This article from Preservation Technology Update addresses the vegetation of designed and rural vernacular landscapes that have historic value. It includes general principles and examples of good practice in the treatment of historic vegetation.

Pruning Basics: This publication from Oregon State University covers pruning basics. It presents general equipment, pruning priorities, and timing considerations, as well as specific pruning cuts and growth patterns of different plant types.

Clarifying Certain Pruning Terminology: Thinning, Heading, Pollarding: This article from the Journal of Arboriculture defines commonly used pruning terms to clearly distinguish the different purposes and types of pruning.

Pruning Ornamental Plants: This publication from Penn State Extension provides guidance for pruning ornamental plants, emphasizing how pruning involves the understanding of a plant’s biological response to pruning and an understanding of its natural form and shape.

Restoring a Grapevine: Guidance for pruning grapevines from Plant Amnesty.

Restoring Topped Trees: A 2-page guidance document with diagrams for restoration pruning, performed on topped or damaged trees to guide healthy new growth.

Rules of Thumb: Pruning & Planting: This 2-page guidance document summarizes key reminders for pruning and planting.

Timing: Pruning: Notes of timing considerations for pruning, with acknowledgement that knowing how to prune is more important than when to prune.

Tree Condition Assessment Form: A fillable comprehensive tree condition assessment form for FMSS.

Tree Biology Pop Quiz: This quiz from Plant Amnesty covers tree care information that is important to the maintenance of trees, such as pruning techniques, terminology, and growth habits.

Tree Pruning: This 2-page pruning guide is intended for beginning tree pruners and written for the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest.

Saving Trees & Views: Pruning guidance to maintain views, with notes on specific pruning methods, the idea of the “borrowed view,” view covenants and zoning, and demonstrations of how trees and vegetation can alter a view.


Do you want to know more about preservation horticulture? Check out the Cultural Landscapes CLP page and the Cultural Landscapes CLP Commons Group!

If you can’t find what you need, contact the Park Cultural Landscapes Program via email or the program lead in your region.

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