Tree shaping- Guest Post


Tree shaping

Tree shaping is the art of shaping living trees into art or useful ornaments. There are two methods of tree shaping, with very different results.

 Richard Reames’s Arborsculpture
A bench shaped by Richard Reames using his Instant Arborsculpture techniques as described in his books
1.Instant tree shaping uses the methods as described in both of Richard Reames books. How to grow a chair the art of Tree Trunk Topiary and Arborsculpture Solutions for a small planet. Basically you start with trees that are at least 2 – 5 years old or trees 6 – 8 ft. (2–2.5 m) tall, bend and weave the trees together to form the desired shape. Hold the trees in place for a year or 10. Then hopefully when you remove the restraints the tree will stay in place. I’m not too sure how successful Arborsculpture Instant Tree shaping method is as Richard Reames says in his book quote ” Designs that use large numbers of trees should always have replacement trees of the same age available for backups in case any tree needs replacing. ” Arborsculpture chairs use 12 trees. Richard Reames says that you can bend up a chair in an afternoon.
Axel Erlandson’s Circus Tree
The basket tree, was shaped by Axel Erlandson sometime in the late 1940’s. He shaped with a Gradual method. Quote from his daughter’s book My father talked to Trees “When the stems of the trees were very young and flexible he shaped them as desire

2.Gradual tree shaping uses the methods of Pooktre or Grown UpFurniture. Basically you create a design and the supporting frame work to grow the tree or trees into shape rather than bending living trees. Start with seedlings or saplings approximately 3 –12 in. (7 – 30 cm) long. This method is a day to day or weekly training of the new growth. Pooktre uses this method because the growth of the tree remains strong, with even and balanced growth as nothing is forced. Small designs can be grow into shape in one growing season, Bigger designs like Axel Erlandson’s basket tree may have taken 3 – 4 years to grow the design shape. The tree’s annual growth then continues thicken the design over time.

Tree shapers

There are approximately 18 to 20 Tree shapers in the world who do some form of shaping trees. I am sure there are some hiding in the hills happy shaping their trees.

GrownUp Furniture

•GrownUp Furniture
Don’t under-estimate the value of what this man has done. We believe of all the living tree shapers today his methods are the most like ours.

•Google map of Tree Shaping
This is a google map of Tree shapers from around the world.

Read the history of the people who have shaped trees from around the world. Photos and links their web sites. Forums for asking the questions and general chat.

Tree shaping – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikipedia article about Tree shaping, methods and Tree shapers.

Pooktre Tree Shapers
Pooktre where the world’s leading tree shapers share photos of their shaped trees and other art works.

Richard Reames the leading Instant Tree shaper. With two books describing Arborsculpture techniques of Tree shaping. How to grow a chair and Arborsculpture. Can also find, how to grow a fence and chair on this site using the Instant method.

Ballerina by Pooktre
Ballerina by Pooktre. This girl started out as two tiny shoots less than 20cm high, she was guided though-out her growth to her adult life size. This photo was taken in May 2009.


  1. Lisa Burke Cook says:

    This is so awesome and pretty…thanks for sharing.

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