There are various methods to achieving a shaped tree. These process use a variety of horticultural, arboricultural, and artistic techniques to craft an intended design. Chairs, tables, living spaces and art may be crafted from growing trees. Some techniques used for shaping trees are unique to a particular process, whereas other techniques are common to all, though the implementation may be for different reasons. These methods all start with an idea of the intended outcome. Some practitioners start with detailed drawings, or designs,< other artists start with what the tree already has. Each process has it own time frame and a different level of involvement from the tree trainer. Some of these processes are still experimental, whereas others are still in the research stage. The trees might then either remain growing, as with the living Pooktre garden chair, or perhaps be harvested as a finished work like John Krubsack's chair.
The oldest known living examples of woody plant shaping are the aeroponically cultured living root bridges built by the ancient War-Khasi people of the Cherrapunjee region in India. These are being maintained and further developed today by the people of that region. Aeroponic growing was first formally studied by W. Carter in 1942, before the process had an English language name. Carter researched air culture growing and described "a method of growing plants in water vapor to facilitate examination of roots". Later researchers, including L. J Klotz and G. G. Trowel, expanded on his work. In 1957, F. W. Went described "the process of growing plants with air-suspended roots and applying a nutrient mist to the root section," and in it he coined the word 'aeroponics' to describe that process. In 2008, root researcher and craftsman Ezekiel Golan described and secured a patent for a process which allows the roots of some aeroponically grown woody plants to lengthen and thicken while still remaining flexible. At lengths of perhaps 18 ft or more, the soft roots can be formed into pre-determined shapes which will continue thickening after the shapes are formed and as they continue to grow. Newer techniques and applications, such as eco-architecture, may allow architects to design, grow, and form large permanent structures, such as homes, by shaping aeroponically grown plants and their roots.