A California foothill pine is a conifer with a divided trunk and a sparsely leaved crown with gray-green lacy foliage. It can grow up to 45 feet within 15 years. Although pine trees do not need a lot of attention and pruning, it is necessary to prune them once in a while in order to shape the tree and get rid of dead, broken or diseased branches. Early fall is the right time to prune a foothill pine. Put on gloves and protective eye wear before you begin.
Cut off any broken, dead or diseased branches with the pruning saw or loppers. These will be especially apparent around the trunk. Use a ladder or a pole pruner in order to reach high branches (a pole pruner is a long stick with a pruning saw on the end of it). Watch for falling branches when using the pole pruner. Make sure to cut off branches right before the wrinkled bark that connects the branch and tree trunk, called the branching collar. This will help the foothill pine heal more quickly.
Use the pruning shears to cut away any branches that sweep along the ground that are in the way of lawn mowers or other items.
Trim off the shoots that come from the trunk or from the ground by the base of the trunk with pruning scissors or shears. This is the only pruning you can also do during the summer.