How to Cut Evergreens


Many evergreen trees need little, if any, pruning. Most of the time you can get away with simply removing the dead or broken branches. Evergreen shrubs should be pruned occasionally to keep them from growing too large for the area they are planted in. Take caution that you do not over prune evergreens. If you cut past the green needles, the tree will not be able to grow new needles. The exception to this is the Juniper, which can withstand heavy pruning and is often used to create topiary's.

Step 1

Thin or prune your evergreen in late winter or very early spring before new growth has begun. If you miss this window of opportunity you may still prune in early June before the new growth has had time to harden.

Step 2

Cut off dead or broken branches close to the trunk. Cut from the bottom of the branch, 1/3 or 1/2 of the way through. Then cut down from the top until you meet the bottom cut. This will prevent the bark from ripping as the weight of the branch pulls it off.

Step 3

Prune your evergreen a few times per growing season if you are trying to maintain a certain shape or size.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not prune your junipers if the temperature is below 0 degrees F.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruner
  • Hedge shears
  • Curved pruning saw
  • Ladder


  • Colorado State University Extension: Pruning Evergreens
  • Purdue Extension: Pruning Evergreens
  • University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program: Pruning Evergreens
Keywords: prune evergreen, trim evergreen, cut evergreen limbs, prune evergreen limb

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.