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Pruning Intensive Workshop

  • The Gardens at Lake Merritt 666 Bellevue Avenue Oakland, CA, 94610 United States (map)

The Aesthetic Pruners Association (APA) is delighted to announce an intensive, hands on pruning workshop at the Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, November 4th and 5th, 2016.

APA professional pruners thrive in a culture of teaching and mentorship. The workshop is led by experienced teachers who will present aesthetic pruning principles and practices and guide workshop participants in applying these techniques in Lake Merritt’s seven acres of beautiful themed gardens.

Participants will come away with pruning skills and concepts which will both challenge and enhance their existing knowledge and, we hope, the desire to pass them on.

All horticulture professionals regardless of specialization and level of experience are welcome to apply.

Registration begins May 1st.  Register by July 1st and receive an early bird discount.  Space is limited.

Questions- please contact Bruce Thompson at

Workshop breakdown:

11/3- Thursday evening the APA will host a lecture featuring Michael Alliger who will speak on The Numinous Art of  Pruning.

11/4- Friday morning will be a presentation introducing Aesthetic Pruning. We will focus on the universality of our method.  We will discuss how we approach pruning a tree and introduce some of our key techniques and principles.  

-Friday afternoon will be hands on pruning. Participants will be divided into small groups and will work closely with a hands on instructor who will guide them in pruning a tree. Most of the trees will be landscape trees, and will be pruned by students individually as well as in groups. The topics covered in the morning presentation will be applied to real trees in the landscape.*

11/5- Saturday morning will be a presentation that delves deeply into the subjects of Garden Context, Finding the Essence of a Tree and Focal Point pruning. This is an introduction to the art of pruning. Reading a garden and pruning with design intent is understanding the big picture, while focal point pruning is used to reveal and enhance the essence of individual trees in a way that elevates the entire garden.

-Saturday Afternoon will be more hands on pruning in the same format as on Friday. The morning’s presentation will have introduced many concepts and techniques that we will apply to landscape trees. Among them, artistic principles such as movement, structure, space and evoking an emotional response will be incorporated into the pruning.*

- There will be a one hour lunch break on Friday and Saturday and lunch will be provided.  Lunch time is also a great time to get to know the APA teachers and your fellow participants. 

*Note: no ladders will be used by students during the hands on pruning. The plant material will be of appropriate size to prune from the ground.

Teachers at the APA event are the following APA Certified Aesthetic Pruners: 

Bill Castellon, Pete Churgel, Jocelyn Cohen, Grant Foerster, Greg Kitijima, Allison Levin, and Bruce Thompson

Combined, our teachers have well over 100 years of pruning experience. All of them have been teaching and leading pruning events for many years. Please see our website for more info on the teachers.

Participants should bring their own hand pruners and hand saws. We will be working outside in fall weather. It could be mild or it could be cool and rainy, so please prepare to dress accordingly. There will be no ladder work, but pruning is a physically activity that requires standing, reaching and stooping.

*Refunds are allowed up to October 1st, 2016

Lodging Information
We have arranged a discounted rate for participants of the Pruning Intensive Workshop at the Executive Inn and Suites located at 1755 Embarcadero in Oakland.  They provide a complimentary shuttle to the Oakland airport among other amenities.

The discounted rates are king and double queen rooms at $149.00 plus tax; and king and double water view for $159.00 plus tax.  Reservations must be made by Tuesday October 11th in order to receive the discount.

Each individual guest is responsible for making their own reservation either by calling the hotel reservations department at 510-536-6633 and mentioning the "Pruning Intensive" rate; or following the below booking procedure for online reservations:

 Online Reservation Booking Procedure-go to:

Included with your reservation- the APA will provide transportation to and from the Executive Inn to the Pruning Intensive Workshop site and to the lecture on Thursday evening.

Friday, November 4, 2016 at 9:00 AM - Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 5:00 PM (PDT) - Add to Calendar

The Gardens at Lake Merritt - 666 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610 - View Map

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