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What Is Tip Pruning?

By Jessica Westover
Pruning shears are used to tip prune deciduous trees and shrubs.

There are many methods of pruning plants, and each produces different results. Whether you want to decrease the size of your tree or want more blooms on your shrub, tip pruning is an easy method to get fast results.


Tip pruning is performed on deciduous plants in early spring once the new growth has occurred. Its most common benefit is that it stimulates thick, new growth which results in a fuller, bushier plant. Other benefits of the practice include maintaining plant shape, improving plant appearance, increasing flower production, and encouraging plant health.


For small deciduous shrubs, pruning shears or hedge shears are the preferred tools. Pruning shears are better suited for removing small woody stems, one to two at a time. Hedge shears are meant to cut multiple small, succulent stems. For deciduous trees, lopping shears are the best tool to use as they are suited to cut thicker, woodier stems and branches.


With the correct shear, remove one to two inches of length from the top of each stem or branch with smooth, clean cuts. Make each cut at a 45-degree angle just above a leaf or lateral branch. The angle of the cut is very important because it stops water from gathering in the wound and allows for quicker healing.