Top Navigation

Tips for pruning your landscape trees

Lee Dean, Plantations’ lead arborist offers his experience and expertise on pruning trees, with some basic tips in this video, and in the list below! video platform video management video solutionsvideo player          


A good first step is to cut any branches that are rubbing and/or interfering and any dead branches.

Take a good look at your tree to notice its growth patterns. Trees have a great ability to “tell you” where they need pruning. Typically, you want the permanent branches to be evenly spaced between 12” and 18” apart. Many tree species will only have one “leader” or main trunk, so it’s best to remove or reduce additional leaders when the tree is young.

When the tree is still young, don’t prune off lower branches. These may not be permanent branches later, but they help in the development of a strong trunk with good taper, protect the bark from sun scald and offer physical protection from animals and machinery as well.

A good rule of thumb is not to remove more than a quarter of a tree’s mass when pruning.
When cutting a branch, be sure to cut the branch just outside the branch collar, or the part of the branch that contains trunk tissue.

If you notice that a branch is growing at a tight angle to the tree, it is good to remove the branch when it’s young. A tight angle could cause the bark to become overgrown between the trunk and branch, making the branch vulnerable to breakage, which may deform the tree and lead to pest and disease issues.

For newly planted trees, it is good to wait at least one growing season before pruning to allow the tree to establish.

Two of Lee’s favorite websites to learn more:

Great publications to download: (Go to SHOP ISA)

Tree Care Information: