Pruning trees or shrubs

Pruning trees to encourage plant health

  • Removing dead or dying Pruning trees branches caused by disease, severe insects infestation, animals or storms.
  • Removing branches that rub together is a good idea.
  • Remove branch stubs

Avoid topping trees. Avoid trimming large branches. This can cause a variety of health problems. It can also damage the plant’s natural structure and encourages sucking and the growth of weaker branch structures.

Prune to preserve the intended purpose of plants in a landscape

  • To encourage flowering and fruit development.
  • To maintain a dense hedge.
  • To keep or encourage a specific plant form or other garden forms.
  • Prune to improve your plant’s appearance

The appearance of a plant in its natural environment is crucial to its utility. A plant’s natural form will work best in most landscapes.

If shrubs need to be restricted or trained, it is best not to shear them into tight geometrical shapes. Properly pruning plants makes it difficult to determine if they have been properly trimmed.


  • Controls the plant’s size and shape.
  • You will keep shrubby evergreens dense and well-proportioned.
  • Removing unwanted branches, waterspouts and suckers that can detract plant appearance.

Prune to protect property and people:

  • Remove dead branches.
  • Have hazardous trees taken down.
  • Prune any tree branches with weak angles or that hang too high from homes, parking lots, sidewalks or other areas where falling limbs can cause injury or property damage.
  • Eliminate any branches that can interfere with traffic signals, street lights and overhead wires.
  • Avoid attempting to prune around utility and electrical wires. For assistance, contact your local utility company or city maintenance workers.
  • Prune branches that block vision at intersections.
  • Prune shrubs and branches from trees that are blocking your home’s entryway for security purposes.

The right tools are needed for pruning

The right tools will make pruning much easier and allow you to do a great job. It will increase the performance of your tools if they’re well-maintained. Although there are many tools available for pruning, these will likely suffice for most purposes:

  • A pair of pruning scissors is a very important tool. These tools can be used for cutting up to 3/4″ in diameter.
  • Lopping shears can be used in the same way as pruning shears. However, their long handles give you more leverage for cutting branches up to 1 1/2″ in diameter.
  • Hedge shears should only be used for trimming hedges. They prefer to cut small or succulent stems.
  • Hand saws can be used to cut branches greater than 1 in. There are many kinds of hand saws. You can use special tri-cut or razor-tooth pruning saws to cut through larger branches, up to 4 in. diameter.
  • Pole saws are able to reach a greater distance with a longer handle but must be used with care as it is hard to achieve clean cuts.
  • You can use small chain saws to cut larger branches. Safety glasses and caution must be worn by operators. You should never use chainsaws to reach beyond your shoulders.