All About Landscape Gazette Digital

How do I prune a tree?

Dec 27


Once established, most deciduous and even evergreen trees don't need much pruning. However, there will be occasions when corrective pruning is necessary to remove broken branches, diseased limbs, or dead growth. Side branches should be pruned back to the trunk or main branch. The collar is the stub of a branch that looks like a raised ring around its base. This collar is vital for the healing of the wound.


To prune large limbs that are more than 1-1/2 inches in diameter, you can use a bow saw or pruning saw to make a three-part cut.


  • You should make the first cut under the branch, approximately 6-12 inches from the trunk. Only trim 1/3 of the length.
  • The second cut should be 3 inches from the first. This will ensure that the branch ends are not damaged. The branch will fall as you cut.
  • Finally, trim the remaining stub to fit the branch collar.

Pruning Hedges

Pruning evergreen and deciduous hedges are necessary throughout the growing season. This can be started in spring.


  • Hand pruners or loppers can be used to trim dead or broken branches from lilacs and other deciduous shrubs. The shape of the shrub will remain intact.
  • A shear is a good option for evergreens that are in formal settings.

Pruning Rose Bushes

Roses require yearly pruning to keep their vigor and encourage flowering. To remove old, unproductive growth, hybrid roses should be pruned in spring. Use hand pruners and loppers to remove the most unhealthy and thickest canes. Then, trim those to make a vigorous, forward-facing bud.


The Right Pruning Tools


There are many types of pruning tools available. Each has its purpose. Here are some tips to help you choose the right tool for your job.

Hand Pruners

The hand pruner is the next best friend of a gardener to the trowel. These pruners are small enough to carry in one hand or your pocket and sharp enough to tackle any stem they come across. Hand pruners can be used to precisely cut small branches and soft stems. There are two types of pruners available: bypass and anvil. 


  • bypass pruners are equipped with overlapping blades that look like scissors. 


  • Anvil pruning tools use a single blade that presses against a flat surface. Anvil pruners can cause the stem to be partially crushed, rather than being cut through cleanly. This can lead to pests and diseases. Avoidance pruners are highly recommended.


Read More: Hiring Tree Removal Services


Hand pruners are not recommended for larger branches than 1/4 inch. Upgrade to loppers instead of risking crushing your branches or making an uneven cut. Loppers are larger, heavier-duty pruners that have longer handles and allow for more leverage. These are great for cutting tougher branches, stems, or roots, but still achieving a precise, clean cut.

Pruning saws

A saw is not always a drastic measure, contrary to popular belief. With their sharp teeth and curved blades, pruning saws are specially designed for cutting through branches that hand pruners or loppers cannot. These saws are great for cutting large branches or removing thicker branches from trees. They also come in the pole saw, which is a saw on a stick. This is great for when you need to reach higher branches without using a ladder.

Hedge Shears

Traditional hedge shears look a lot like giant scissors and are great for shaping evergreen hedges for topiary. They are not recommended for trimming other trees and shrubs because of their large blades.

Hedge Trimmers 

Motorized hedge trimmers can be used to shape large areas of evergreen shrubs and hedges. The sharp blades of these trimmers are reciprocating and can make precise cuts faster than traditional shears. We recommend an extendable hedge trimmer if the hedge you are trying to trim is too big to be handled with traditional shears.