How to Thin Flowering Trees


Gardeners can save money by learning how to thin flowering trees, instead of paying for landscapers and tree experts. It should take approximately 1 to 2 hours to thin a flowering tree in your yard. Thinning requires removing specific branches from the tree. The process promotes larger tree canopies, higher flower production and larger tree size. The best time to thin flowering trees is during their dormancy period.

Step 1

Put on gardening gloves to protect your hands while working with the flowering tree's branches.

Step 2

Place 5 to 10 strips of cloth in your pants pocket. Stand a tripod ladder within several inches of the flowering tree. Climb the ladder.

Step 3

Examine the tree for dead branches. Tie a strip of cloth to any dead flowering tree branches.

Step 4

Tie a strip of cloth to any flowering tree branches with pests, fungus, mold or other health problems.

Step 5

Examine the flowering tree for overlapping and thin branches close to the thicker parent branches and tree trunk. Mark these with the strips of cloth.

Step 6

Climb down from the ladder. Repeat the steps for marking the flowering tree limbs with the strips of cloth for the lower portion of the tree.

Step 7

Place a large drop cloth on the ground at the base of the flowering tree.

Step 8

Climb back up the ladder with the hacksaw. At a 45-degree angle cut the flowering tree limbs and branches marked with the strips of cloth.

Step 9

Climb back down the ladder and cut the marked limbs on the lower portion of the tree.

Step 10

Gather up the drop cloth and cut limbs to dispose of in a manner you find appropriate.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always have another person present while using ladders. Never remove more than one-third of a flowering tree's total branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Tripod ladder
  • Drop cloth
  • Strips of cloth
  • Hand saw


  • Texas A&M East Texas Gardening: Pruning Principles
Keywords: thin flowering trees, thin trees, thinning trees

About this Author

Lisha Smith writes for several blogs and has freelanced for six years. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Greensboro in psychology. Smith has self-published several books. Her areas of experience include gardening, cooking, home improvement, pets and mental health.