Pruning is an activity that is rewarded by what we don’t see. Trimming back branches is an important part of tree and shrub care, for the health of the plant as well as for safety and appearance. We recently hosted the volunteers of the Merritt College Aesthetic Pruning Club on the grounds here, and we are exceptionally grateful for their thorough and careful work. Cutting back dead or diseased wood prevents breakage and damage to growing limbs, and thinning out dense growth so that sunlight reaches each branch helps spur healthy development. Fruit trees in particular benefit from vigorous pruning; a skilled pruner can identify which branches to remove that will encourage buds on neighboring branches to produce plenty of fruit in season. Take a look at the old apple tree that shades the patio between Laurel House and the Livermore Pavilion; after some judicious removal of overgrown branches, the tree is likely to live longer and continue to produce apples come autumn.