How to Prune Carolina Basswood


Carolina basswood is a variety of American basswood. It is a medium-sized deciduous tree, which flowers in the spring. The species can be found in the Eastern United States (especially in North Carolina) and is easily confused with red mulberry. It grows best in fertile, moist, well drained soil. Pruning Carolina basswood when they are young will produce a strong structure. As they mature, the purpose of pruning is to maintain the tree form, structure, health and appearance.

Step 1

Consider the spherical form of the Carolina basswood when planning your pruning design. This means it has many lateral branches that may compete for dominance. If you choose to make the tree into an unnatural form, plan to do continual maintenance.

Step 2

Use a hand pruner to cut small, thin branches. Lopping shears or small pruning saws can be used for slightly larger branches with bigger cutting surfaces and greater leverage. If you're dealing with even larger branches, about 6 inches in thickness, use a pruning saw. Chainsaws will work on those thicker than 8 inches.

Step 3

Identify the node, which is where one twig or branch meets another. Each spring, growth will start with buds and twigs grow until there is a new node.

Step 4

Cut at the nodes in order to thin the crown. This will increase the amount of light and air that gets to the tree. Remove the branches with narrow, V-shaped connections because they are weaker and are likely already cracked. Keep all branches that are attached with strong U-shaped joints.

Step 5

Achieve crown raising by removing all the Carolina Basswood branches that are facing downward, at the bottom of the tree. This will provide clearance for pedestrians, traffic and lines of site. The tree will also have a neater appearance.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not remove more than one-quarter of the crown at a time or you may cause stress and excessive production of new sprouts.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Hand pruner
  • Small pruning saw
  • Lopping shears
  • Chain saw


  • Duke University
  • Louisiana Ecosystems and Plan Identification
  • The University of Texas at Austin
Keywords: carolina basswood, prune, tree

About this Author

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.