We have a lot of trees on the farm (Apple, maple, pear, walnut, oak...) and I've been reading about pruning lately. One of the things I stumbled upon is that when a tree is say five feet tall and has a branch at 18 inches above the ground there will always be a branch at 18 inches (even if the tree grows to 50 feet). Is this true? I assume this would also apply to Y's in trees where the trunk separates into two different sections. If you want a good looking tree ideally you don't want a big branch 18 inches off the ground, so you'd prune it.

So, basically, is it true that when a branch grows in it will always remain at the height it started out at?

2 Answers 2


Yes, those branches will be at the same height forever. Trees grow from the top. If you have ever seen a sign or (very common where I live) fence nailed into an old tree, the sign/fence is at the same height that it was at 50 or 80 years ago. The same holds true for low branches or Ys.


Trees increase in girth (the trunk, limbs) and branches get longer and new growth happens from the buds it forms. A branch at 18 inches will pretty much stay at 18 inches, other than the thickness causing it to change a bit.

I've had to learn to prune better with my trees over the years. It seems harsh to get in there and prune them, particularly when you have to cut off a fair amount, but things won't be any better next year. :) A small branch sticking out somewhere you don't want it will be likely bigger next year and harder to prune. Plus, it takes energy to grow that branch. Energy that could have been used elsewhere.

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