Jade plants, also called Japanese money trees, are hardy plants with firm, succulent leaves. If they're well cared for, they will grow quickly and sometimes their branches will outpace the trunk. In this case, you need to prune back your plant to keep the trunk from snapping. Pruning jade plants is easy and the plants tolerate it well. The cuttings can be replanted to create new jade trees.
Prune your jade plant during its active growing season. For most plants, this is spring or summer. Understand that your plant will better be able to recover from a more aggressive pruning during its growing season when it regenerates more quickly.
Use clean, sharp pruning shears. Avoid dull or dirty instruments because dull, jagged cuts make it harder for the plant to heal. Dirty tools introduce bacteria and fungus to the plant that could be potentially fatal. Never use a serrated knife or dull house scissors. Use only sharp scissors or pruning shears to make cleaner cuts.
Look for branches and plant sections that seem out of place, too heavy or uneven. Target these to remove. Take into account both the look you will be creating and the weight you will be removing from the trunk. Look for any branches with sick looking leaves or weak, spindly sections.
Locate the node. The node is the area where one branch grows out of another. Firmly grasp your shears and position them just above the node. Slip in one fast, clean motion. Do not pull, rip or saw the branches. Repeat on each segment you'd like to remove.
Trim proportionally. Maintain balance throughout the plant to prevent leaning or crooked growth. Too much weight in one direction could snap the trunk. Prune all at once rather than dividing the pruning up between different days. This will prolong the plant's healing time. Wait a few weeks between aggressive pruning to give the plant a chance to recover.