Pine Tree Pruning: How And When To Prune Pine Trees

by johnah on November 22, 2020

How To Trim A Pine Tree Without Killing It?

In order to get rid of some of the old growth on your pine tree, you need to cut them down. However, if you want to keep the size of your tree intact, then you have to do something else with all those branches. You may decide that they will make nice benches or tables for your family’s gathering at home. Or maybe you would like to use these branches for other purposes such as a fence around your property or even a deck railing!

You might think that you don’t need to worry about cutting down your pine tree because it is already so big. But there are still things you must take into consideration when deciding what to do with all those branches. Here are a few tips:

First of all, let’s start off by saying that if you really want to maintain the look of your tree, then it is better not to cut any branches at all.

Think about it: when was the last time you saw a pine tree with no branch at all?

Pines grow old, but they don’t really get old. They are large and green almost all the time. So, the next time you take a trip to the mountains, make sure to look closely at those pine trees. You will see what we are talking about.

On the other hand, if you really need to cut your tree’s branches for whatever reason, you have to do it in a very specific way in order to promote new branch growth. Now, this is the catch: only fresh branch cuts will promote new branch growth. If you cut the branch, let’s say last year, then it will not grow back immediately. It will only lay dormant until the following year when it is going to grow again.

Now, there are two types of branch cuts: the heel and the leading shoot. The leading shoot is the one that is attached to the branch and the heel is the one that is detached from the branch. Now, if you want to proceed with cutting your pine tree’s branches, then make sure to cut the leading shoots while leaving some of the heeled shoots intact.

Pine trees are known for their sturdy and thick branches that can easily be converted into various household items such as: tables, chairs, fences, and many more. However, you have to make sure to cut the leading shoots while leaving some of the heeled shoots intact for the tree to grow properly.

How To Prune A Mature Pine Tree?

While we are on the topic of pine tree pruning, let’s now talk about how you should go about pruning a mature pine tree. Pruning a pine tree is actually an easier process than you would have expected. However, there are still things that you should always remember before starting the process. So, here they are:

In most cases, it is always preferable to try to select which branches to cut during the early spring or even in the autumn months. Of course, this will depend on where you live and the kind of climate that your tree is currently facing. Always remember that cutting during these times will make it easier for the tree to heal faster compared to the middle of summer.

Make sure to cut off those dead or dying branches first. It is much easier to see them clearly since most of them are either grayish and dry or already withered. If you happen to cut one that is not dead, then it will not really matter since the tree will eventually re-grow in due time.

You might want to invest on some protective gear such as a hard hat, in case you are planning on doing some major overhaul on your pine tree. This is especially if you are planning on lopping off several large branches.

Pine Tree Pruning: How And When To Prune Pine Trees - Image

Of course, make sure to always exercise proper safety measures when working with tools and machinery. This is especially true if you are going to be doing heavy duty pruning such as loping off several large branches.

How To Prune AYoung Pine Tree?

For those who have just bought a young pine tree, you will have to start the pruning process a little differently. Since the tree is still young, you can not just go ahead and start chopping off its branches right away. This can actually cause irreparable damage to the tree itself since it is still developing.

What you need to do first is to shape the tree in such a way that it will grow as intended. This means that you can not just let the tree grow however it wants. Some trees will grow with a greater abundance of leaves on one side rather than on the other. You should try to even this out as best you can by pruning.

It is also important that you prune away any dead or dying branches that you see on the tree. These will be much easier to spot since they will either be brown or gray in color and will be very brittle to the touch.

If there are any branches that are crossing over one another then you will need to remove these as well since they can potentially damage the tree’s main trunk. So, just keep all of these facts in mind when shaping your tree and you should do just fine.

The number one rule that you should always keep in mind though is to always be careful when doing the pruning. You wouldn’t want to accidentally cut through a vital part of the tree that would cause it serious damage or kill it altogether. So, make sure to exercise caution at all times.

Sources & references used in this article:

Growth of young loblolly pine trees following pruning by RL Amateis, HE Burkhart – Forest ecology and management, 2011 – Elsevier

Effects of shoot pruning on stem growth, needle biomass, and dynamics of carbohydrates and nitrogen in Scots pine as related to season and tree age by B Långström, O Tenow, A Ericsson… – … Journal of Forest …, 1990 – NRC Research Press

Effects of different pruning regimes on growth and sapwood area of Scots pine by B Långström, C Hellqvist – Forest Ecology and Management, 1991 – Elsevier

Movement of nutrients in radiata pine needles in relation to the growth of shoots by DN Fife, EKS Nambiar – Annals of Botany, 1984 –

Selective pruning of radiata pine by WRJ Sutton, JB Crowe – NZJ For. Sci, 1975 –



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