How and When Trees Should Be Pruned

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The best time to prune a tree is in the spring or fall, when there is no foliage. At these times, it is easier to get a view of the display of branches.

The first pruning should be done at planting time, which will stimulate growth. Begin by removing all but the thickest, healthiest branches. Each year, as the tree grows, remove one or two of the lowest branches in order to achieve the desired height of the main branches. While the tree is still young, be careful not to remove too many branches in a season, as the tree needs leaves to produce food.

Once the tree reaches the desired shape, prune only to remove broken or diseased branches and to remove crowded branches. Prune branches that interfere with buildings and power lines.

If two branches rub together, remove the smaller one. There should only be one main trunk per tree. If there is a secondary trunk, where the two meet (the crotch) will weaken and the tree may split. The split is an excellent place for insect infestation.