How to Prune California Buckeye


The California Buckeye (Aesculus californica) is also known as Horse Chestnut. It grows 20 to 30 feet tall, and 20 to 25 feet wide. Erect clusters of white or pale pink flowers bloom in the summer. Small pear-shaped leathery capsules with two or three seeds appear in the fall. The leaves of the California Buckeye turn yellow and drop from the tree in the summer when the tree goes dormant. The tree needs little pruning, which should be done immediately after flowering.

Step 1

Cut branches larger than 1 inch in diameter with a pruning saw. Cut smaller limbs with lopping shears. Make cuts just above a joint or bud on a 30 degree angle.

Step 2

Remove damaged, dead or diseased limbs and branches with the appropriate pruning tool. Symptoms of disease include oozing patches in the bark or wood, splits in the bark or wood, and dead or dying leaves (out of season).

Step 3

Prune out crossed or rubbing limbs and branches with the proper pruning tool.

Step 4

Use the appropriate pruning tools to trim limbs or branches that hang low enough to get in the way of people or vehicles.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw
  • Lopping shears


  • United States Agricultural Department: California Buckeye

Who Can Help

  • California Buckeye
  • Texas AgriLife Extension Service: Pruning Techniques
Keywords: prune California buckeye, prune horse chestnut, prune aesculus californica, California buckeye, horse chestnut

About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.