How to Prune Pine Trees


Pine trees are highly durable evergreen trees that grow well in regions with extreme seasonal weather changes. There are roughly 35 species of pine trees just in North America alone. While pine trees do not require pruning for successful growing the majority of the time, some pruning can be beneficial to the health and well-being of the tree.

Step 1

Trim each branch of a newly planted or transplanted pine tree back by about one-third. This will help ensure that the rooting system will be able to maintain the above ground foliage while it is getting established in its new location.

Step 2

Train a pine tree into a specific shape while it is young. For the traditional cone shape, cut the central trunk back to 8 to 12 inches and the side branches 4 to 6 inches shorter than the central branch, allowing the branches to remain longer as you go lower. If done regularly, the tree will maintain its appearance as it grows and the tree will require very little pruning when it's older.

Step 3

Remove any broken or dead limbs as they appear. Dead limbs will fail to produce foliage and will show no green when the bark is peeled back. Small limbs can be removed with shears, while larger branches may require a pruning saw.

Step 4

Prune off diseased branches. Cut the branches back to 5-6 inches beyond the visible signs of disease to make sure the disease is completely removed.

Step 5

Cut away up to one-third of the tree's crown each year without causing any impairment to the tree's growth. Use shears to trim branches back to the desired length and to remove branches in areas where growth has gotten too thick and branches are crowding each other.

Tips and Warnings

  • Diseases and infections in pine trees spread easily during the pruning process. Dip saws and shears into alcohol or bleach between each cut to prevent the spread of disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw
  • Pruning shears


  • Tree Help
  • Yardener
Keywords: pine trees, trim, branch

About this Author

Alexis Lawrence has been writing professionally for six years and has been published on Associated Content. She is also a freelance filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. Lawrence attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science in English.