The classification of large dimensional data sets arising from the merging of remote sensing data with more traditional forms of ancillary data causes a significant computational problem. Decision tree classification is a popular approach to the problem. This type of classifier is characterized by the property that samples are subjected to a sequence of decision rules before they are assigned to a unique class. If a decision tree classifier is well designed, the result in many cases is a classification scheme which is accurate, flexible, and computationally efficient. This correspondence provides an automated technique for effective decision tree design which relies only on a priori statistics. This procedure utilizes canonical transforms and Bayes table look-up decision rules. An optimal design at each node is derived based on the associated decision table. A procedure for computing the global probability of correct classification is also provided. An example is given in which class statistics obtained from an actual Landsat scene are used as input to the program. The resulting decision tree design has an associated probability of correct classification of 0.75 compared to the theoretically optimum 0.79 probability of correct classification associated with a full dimensional Bayes classifier. Recommendations for future research are included.