Arboriculture is the cultivation, maintenance, and management of woody stemmed perennial plants; primarily trees.

Arboriculture is the applied science of managing persistent, woody plants individually or in the context of the plants and environmental features of the immediate surround (as contrasted to forestry, for example, or orchard agriculture). A working knowledge of arboriculture involves an understanding of the biology of trees, vines and shrubs, and a skill set of how to go about achieving goals associated with their growth, health, risks, and benefits. While the focus of study is principally on the tree, a working knowledge of trees requires an introduction to the fields of study which cover the environments in which trees thrive, or fail to thrive. As well as the system of classification of species, and the evolutionary ecology of trees, their pests, and their allies. Along with a good measure of practical instruction on management methods, practices, practical concerns, and professional codes of conduct.

While it is convenient for the present to use the term "tree" when referring to the focus of the study of arboriculture, it should be pointed out early that grouping plants into the categories of tree, shrub, vine, or bush is a matter of common usage and convenience regarding the shape and size of plants. Grouping together by form plants which may be entirely unrelated. In fact, the leguminous trees such as the locust tree, the golden-chain tree, and redbud(Robinia, Laburnum, Cercis) are botanically more closely related to clover or to sweet peas than they are to pine trees, or even maples.

Arboriculture is the branch of environmental horticulture concerned with woody stemmed perennial plants, whether upright or prostrate, having a single stout trunk or a multitude of small vines, deciduous or evergreen, broad-leaved or having needles. Or even among the grasses, the bamboos; and related to lillys, Joshua trees.

The structure of trees and the functioning of biological processes within them differs among the wide diversity of plants considered to be woody stemmed perennials. They all have in common the most basic biological functions of vascular plants.

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