April 23


Pruning Pine Trees: FAQ

By Noel D.

April 23, 2020

If you have pine trees, you know that they are pretty self-reliant. You don’t really need to do all that much and they should thrive. Of course, you need to think about regular maintenance and take care of them, the area around them, and look for problems. However, they are usually low maintenance and don’t require a lot of your time and effort. This is what makes them so appealing to so many homeowners.

Still, some people want to shape and prune their trees so that they have clean lines and fit in with their yards. Sometimes, they just want to make things look a little neater but still leave the prune natural. No matter what, there are some things that you should know about pruning your pine trees.

When Should You Prune A Pine Tree?

Credit: jfh686
  • The best time to prune by choice is in the early spring
  • If your tree needs corrective pruning, it can be done at any time
  • Pruning techniques will change by the season

If you do prune, there are certain times to do it and certain times to avoid it. Of course, if there are dangers or problems with your tree, you can prune them at any time. If you do have to prune when it is really hot or too cold, you will need to take some precautions. You may need to look after your tree a bit more, give it some water, or use special techniques to ensure that you don’t invite problems.

According to Gardening Know How, “The best time for pruning pine trees is in spring, but you can prune to correct damage any time of year. Although it’s best to take care of broken and mangled branches right away, you should avoid pruning in late summer or fall whenever possible. Cuts made late in the season won’t have time to heal before winter weather sets in. Wound dressing and paint don’t provide winter protection for pruning cuts.”

So in general, try to prune in the early spring.

What Tools Should I Use To Prune?

Credit: David Ohmer
  • The tools and methods that you use do matter
  • Different types of pruning will require different tools
  • Best left to a professional

There are very specific tools that you need to use to prune a pine tree. Hand saws, clippers, and various other tools can be used. Even more important than the tools themselves are the way that you use them. Once you have made cuts, you need to clean them appropriately so that you do not spread diseases and infestations.

Of course, the best tool is always a keen mind. You should know about your tree and how to make appropriate cuts. When you do this, you will be setting your tree up for success in the healing process. That is why we suggest you leave pruning up to the professionals who have trained to make smart cuts.

Where Should I Prune My Pine Trees?

Credit: einalem
  • In general, only prune when you need to
  • It is best to leave the lower branches as is
  • Prune from the top first

The most sensitive part of a pine tree is its trunk. The best pruning job will take this into account. How much of it needs to be protected depends on the type of pine. Even so, it is best not to expose the trunk. Instead, make your prunes from the top down. You can adjust your pruning this way and work your way down. Always cut parts of branches rather than the entire branch when possible.

If you are trying to prune an older pine tree, Home Guides explains it best: “Established pine trees need little maintenance clipping if the tree is planted correctly in its appropriate hardiness zones. The zones vary among species, ranging from U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. Most pines have strong central leaders that don’t need any help or training, assuming a classic pine pyramid shape is desired. Mandatory pruning is generally limited to removing dead or diseased limbs at the point they emerge from the trunk.”

How Does Damage To The Tree Impact Pruning?

Credit: Ryan Finnie
  • If a tree is damaged, you may need to prune sooner
  • Try to remove limbs as soon as you can after the damage
  • Allow your tree to scab over

There is no good time to prune your tree due to damage. Often, damage can take the life of a pine tree. Removal of tree damage should be done with care. If the damage occurs in the later winter or early spring, the tree will likely heal itself. If the damage occurs in the summer, you need to be careful about sun scalding and dehydration. In the winter, you need to be careful about further damage.

Damage requires a certain type of cut. You will need to try to get a scab that will be as neat as possible and has the best chance to heal, according to Rootwell. Check the wound regularly to ensure that it is healing properly. If you see that something is going wrong, you may need to take further steps.

The health of your trees matters. If you have questions or concerns about your trees, contact a tree care professional as soon as possible. At Arbortec Tree Service, we serve the greater Denver area. Give us a call at your earliest convenience at: (303) 466-3175. No matter what, we will treat your trees like they are the most important ones in the area – that’s a promise.

Header photo courtesy of Laura on Flickr!

About the author

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Contact Us for a Free Estimate