Woman gardener cutting branches of fruit tree with pruning shears

Learn How to Prune a Tree in Two Minutes

Tree pruning may not be high up on anyone’s weekend household chores list, but it is an extremely important maintenance “to do” to keep your tree healthy. Not only does pruning help a tree look its best, a well-kept tree can also harden your home from wildfires. In fact, tree pruning can serve several purposes:

  • It removes branches that are either dead, or branches that pose a threat to the tree;
  • It helps to maintain the natural look of the tree; and
  • It protects a home, powerlines, and neighboring plants.

When to prune depends on the type of tree. Coniferous trees, such as pine and spruce trees, should be pruned between late winter and early spring. Deciduous trees, which lose leaves and go dormant in cold temperatures, should be trimmed in the winter. However, if you notice dead or damaged wood clinging to the tree, it’s best to remove it as soon as possible regardless of the season.

Having the right tools is important and the tools you use will depend on the type of tree, the thickness of the branch, where the branch is located on the tree, and the height of the branch or branches being cut.

How to Prune:

  1. Locate the major branch skeleton of the tree. These are important to the tree’s integrity, so avoid removing these branches.
  2. Make a cut on the underside of the branch. The cut shouldn’t go all the way through, this cut helps prevent the branch from cracking too close to the trunk.
  3. Then you’ll make second cut on the other side of the branch, this cut should be a few inches from the initial cut. This cut should go all the way through and will cause a stub to remain.
  4. Make a precise cut to remove the stub.

If the job is larger than you can handle or involves climbing, contact a tree-trimming service or landscaping professional.

Taking care of your trees will keep them healthy, add value to your property, and make you the envy of the neighborhood.