How to Trim Pine Shrubs


Pine shrubs, like the mugo pine, are technically trees that can be shaped into a shrublike shape. Trimming, or pruning, a pine is an important part the tree-shrub's maintenance if you want to maintain a shrublike size and shape. Prune and trim pine shrubs in the summer when new growth is forming. Iowa State University recommends pruning pine shrubs between June and early July. A second light trim in the late summer will keep your pine shrub looking neat for the coming winter.

Step 1

Look at the overall shape of the pine shrub and identify the areas you want to trim. You must keep pine shrubs small through annual pruning, beginning when the plant is a sapling. Left to themselves, pine shrubs will quickly become full-size trees.

Step 2

Identify the new growth of candle-shaped greenery on the end of each branch. Using your fingers, pinch off half the new growth. This will force the new growth to remain close to the center of the shrub.

Step 3

Cut off unwanted limbs close to the trunk of the shrub. Use a sharp, clean pruning saw for large branches; clip smaller branches with sturdy, sterile pruning shears.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid pruning evergreen shrubs in the fall; cold winter temperatures will damage a freshly pruned evergreen shrub. Use your fingernails or a pair of small shears to pinch or clip off the fresh green growth from your pine shrubs. Hedge clippers will damage the delicate needles, according to Cornell University.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Tree saw


  • Iowa State University: The Proper Time To Prune
  • University of Illinois: Mugo Pine (Pinus Mugo)
  • Cornell University: Pruning Pine and Spruce in the Landscape
Keywords: prune pine shrub, trim pine shrubs, grow pine shrubs, make pine shrub, pine tree bush, pine tree shrub

About this Author

Eulalia Palomo has been a freelance writer since 2009, with her work appearing on GardenGuides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University.