Pruning Points and Tips

Some basic tips for properly pruning shrubs and trees.

  • Prune trees and shrubs that flower in the spring immediately after they bloom.*
  • Prune trees and shrubs that flower later in late fall or before spring growth.*
  • Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs, including conifers, in late fall to winter.
  • If a branch is dead on the end, trim about six inches in where live growth starts.
  • Always cut at an upward 45° angle, about a quarter of an inch to a half inch beyond a bud.
  • Cut just outside, not into, the branch collar when cutting off a branch. The branch collar is the thickened area where the branch joins the trunk.

*Exceptions to the above may include certain varieties of apple, crabapple, hawthorn, pear, quinces, cotoneaster, roses, mountain ash, pyracantha, and others that may be susceptible to fire blight. Consult with your county extension office for guidance.

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