Thou Shalt Not Commit Tree Abuse

We’ve all seen it. The trees that resemble lollipops, squares, rectangles, ovals and every shape in between. Or, the trees that lose their heads entirely like so many poor crape myrtles this time of year suffering from what the Marion County Tree Ordinance defines as – tree abuse!

Tree abuse, according to Sec.6.7.11 of the Marion County Land Development Code, includes hatracking a tree (think crape murder), destroying the natural habit of tree growth (trees aren’t supposed to be square), pruning which leaves stubs, pruning of live palm fronds, shaping a tree (again the squares!), and so on. This tree pictured here is already showing signs of stress from being over pruned into an unnatural shape and has the additional stress of a brick bed built around its roots. Not only does tree abuse such as this create eye sores across the landscape, it can also severely stress and potentially kill your trees. Of course, there are always exceptions such as trees growing into power lines or ones that threaten life and property. But if your trees are otherwise healthy and given the proper space to grow, try to avoid the much-too-common practice of tree abuse.

For more information on how to properly prune a tree, visit the UF/IFAS EDIS page at or call your UF/IFAS Marion County Extension Service at 352-671-8400. If you’re unsure if your tree needs pruning or to assess the health of a questionable tree, it is recommended that you consult an ISA Certified Arborist which are listed on the ISA website at


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Posted: May 29, 2020

Tags: Crape Murder, Tree Abuse, Tree Pruning

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