The photo above and the ones immediately following are a few trees around town in which I think pruning has enhanced the form, or growth habit, of the species, and revealed the inherent grace:
In each of these, branches were selectively removed to thin the interior and balance the look of the tree. By contrast, and to emphasize how thinning the interior branches can improve the look, here is another tree that could use the same treatment:
This tree apparently is doing just fine, health-wise, but it lacks the elegance of the others. Because so many interior branches have been left on the tree, it is difficult to appreciate the form. A closer look at the tree reveals some branches that could easily be removed to enhance the form, starting with those branches that are crossing each other:
Trees like these make me want to break out my pruning saw and do a little guerilla gardening. Not that I would ever do anything like that.
Ideally, this tree would have been pruned when it was younger to grow into a mature shape that had fewer main branches in the center. But even now, some of those branches could be removed to open it up and show the tree's form to its best advantage. As I stated in an earlier post, you wouldn't want to remove more than about 25% of the tree's crown in any given year, but even so, a little could go a very long way at this point. As to how to know what to prune, I'd remove the crossing branches the first year. That alone might be sufficient to bring out the grace trapped inside. If not, then each year after that, I'd compare the tree to others that appealed to me to get a general sense of which interior branches to remove, taking off a few at a time until I'd achieved the look I wanted.*
*It will be very difficult when it is this tightly packed, though, and probably impossible to do with a chainsaw, which may explain why no one has done it.