A nice analogy.  Suppose somebody came to your door offering to “groom” your dog, then proceeding to cut off three of his legs, shave the front half, and disembowel him just a little bit.  To me at least, seeing any of the beloved trees of my memory, growing happily for their (and my) first 50 years only to be thus mangled is just as heart-wrenching as it would be to see one of my pets so abused.  When in doubt remember this: most trees do just fine without pruning, thank you very much.

Does this, like so much else, come from our European mania to alter, control everything, to pleach and poodle the world, for the same reason that a dog pees on fire hydrants?  No, for the same reason we mow lawns—control over nature.

[Reward!]  Rule of thumb: a good job of pruning is when you can’t tell the tree has been pruned—it just looks subtly better somehow—like when you dye your hair and people ask “Have you lost weight?”

Butchery—pruning seemed to arrive on the scene as part of a wave of unprecedented environmental ignorance on many (all?) fronts, (coincidentally?) at about the same time that environmental (and general) political correctness made its appearance.  This is the party lie, don’t confuse us with facts.  Sad to say, we are still there.