How to Prune Your Ornamental Trees


If you have trees on your land, they will need regular pruning to keep them healthy and in good shape. You can usually prune small ornamental trees yourself, although for safety reasons larger taller trees with thick branches will require the attentions of a properly trained, experienced and equipped arborist.

If you're going to tackle small jobs yourself, here's a guide to DIY tree pruning.

Why Prune Your Trees?

Trees require regular pruning for several reasons. You'll need to get rid of any damaged or dead branches that could harbour disease or present a danger to passers-by. The crown of the tree will need thinning out in order to allow good air circulation, and encourage the tree to put out new growth.  A tree with a spreading habit could made areas of the garden too shady for plants to grow or encourage moss to clog up lawns, so the height may need controlling. If you have ornamental trees, pruning may be necessary to keep them in an attractive shape that's in keeping with your garden design.

How to Prune a Single Branch

  1. Begin by making a small cut in a wedge shape underneath the branch to be pruned. The purpose of this is to interrupt the bark, and thus stop tearing of the surrounding tissue. Make the cut a few inches away from the stem collar, towards the branch.   
  2. At the top of the branch, cut right through to leave a blunt end.   
  3. To finish off, make a third incision alongside the stem collar to shorten the stub end.

When to Prune and How Much to Remove

The most suitable time for pruning is in the late autumn or during the winter months when the tree is resting and not producing sap. If you prune during the growing season, the tree can become stressed, and will lose precious nutrients through weeping sap. Spring and summer also see increased insect activity and fungal growth, both of which could cause damage to a tree that's been wounded by pruning cuts. The exception to this rule is dead wood which should be removed on discovery.

It's important not to overdo things when pruning your trees. The more living tissue you remove from the tree, the more vulnerable it will be to attack by disease and insects, and the more stressed it may become. Remove as little as possible.


Always buy good quality tools and keep them well-maintained and in good repair. It's very important to disinfect all your pruning tools after use to prevent the spread of disease between trees.

In Conclusion

Keeping ornamental trees in good shape is well within the compass of most gardeners. Always seek the advice and services of a qualified professional (such as Clean Cut Tree Services) for larger jobs that involve working at height or handling heavy equipment.


16 April 2015

Using Your Trees for Fun, Form and Function

Hi, my name is Christine. As a lifelong lover of the Shel Silverstein book "The Giving Tree," I have always been interested in the many different relationships one can have with a tree. I own a relatively large property with several trees, and I have worked hard to make those trees an essential part of my life. Some of my trees provide me with food, others provide me with energy-efficient shade that reduces my air conditioning bill and others create recreation opportunities for my kids in the form of treehouses or swings attached to the trees. Still other trees boost my property values just by being beautiful. If you want ideas about using your trees for fun, form and function, please explore this blog.