How to Prune Twoneedle Pinyon


Twoneedle pinyon is a shrub and tree native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico. Commercially used for their edible nuts, which are typically roasted in the shell, they also provide food for turkeys and bears, as well as a habitat for many wildlife species. They were once a staple in the diet of the Southwestern Indians. Twoneedle pinyon has a tapered trunk and can grow up to 35 feet tall. The bark is reddish-brown and the evergreen needles are blue-green with tinges of yellow. It grows on mountain slopes, mesas and in open woodlands. It is drought-resistant, requiring just 12 to 18 inches of rainfall per year.

Step 1

Prune the twoneedle pinyon in autumn after a majority of the needles and cones have dropped. This will allow for strong and hardy growth the following season.

Step 2

Prune it with lopping shears, which create sharp cuts up to 2 inches in diameter. Thin back the pinyon by cutting off weak and twisted branches to their point of origin. Thinning creates a more open tree and highlights the branch's internal structure.

Step 3

Remove all side or lateral branches that are gnarled and crossing each other. Cut off all pest-infested and diseased branches by cutting off the entire branch. Discard the branches by burying or burning the branch to avoid contaminating the tree.

Step 4

Prune to one central branch and cut off any competing stems on young trees. This will free up needed nutrients and water to the central stem, creating a healthier tree. Remove sucker shoots, which are small forceful shoots growing from the root base of the tree, as soon as they become noticeable.

Tips and Warnings

  • Prevent injury by wearing protective gardening gloves when using lopping shears.

Things You'll Need

  • Lopping shears


  • USDA: Twoneedle Pinyon Plant Guide
  • Texas A&M University Extension
Keywords: pruning twoneedle pinyon, cutting twoneedle pinyon, twoneedle pinyon

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.