How to Prune Pine Trees

Pine trees can be grown without much care. They don't require special soil care to survive, and will even grow in poor soil conditions. Pine trees are known to grow to majestic heights. However sometimes they grow too large for the area they were planted in and are in need of pruning. Pruning is an integral part of pine tree maintenance. In this process, you remove dead, diseased and injured parts of the tree. Pruning will improve the shape and size of the tree and help the tree to grow denser foliage. The best time to prune pine trees is in late spring [source: French]. So, if you want your pine trees to stay healthy and look nice, get ready to prune. Study this article to learn how to prune your pine trees.

  1. Trim back each branch of your newly planted pine by about one-third. This will help the young roots maintain all the branches and foliage while they're trying to firmly root themselves. Too many branches can be a burden on the roots.
  2. Cut the center trunk back approximately 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters). Cut the side branches 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) shorter than the center trunk. Allow the lower branches to remain longer than those higher up. If you do this regularly, the tree will maintain its shape. It's important to get a young pine tree to grow into a specific shape, such as the traditional cone shape.
  3. Remove all the dead or broken branches. A branch is dead when there is no foliage on it and if it's not green when you pull the bark back.
  4. Prune all diseased branches to about 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 centimeters) beyond the point of the diseased part.
  5. Cut away about one-third of the tree's crown every year. This won't damage the tree, and will even ensure better growth and thicker foliage.
  6. Trim all branches that are growing too close to each other and crowding each other [source: McConnell, Mahoney, Colt, Partridge].