Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Prune Red Pine

By Lauren Wise ; Updated September 21, 2017

Red pine trees are hardy evergreen plants known for their flexible, soft needle-like leaves, red bark and pine cones. They are among 35 species of pine trees in North America. Red pine trees (Pinus resinosa) are usually grown for timber and used in windbreaks.

Prune back the largest branches on the tree using the pruning saw. Red pines tend to have a lot of dead branches near the trunk, so start there first. Cut off any dead, broken or diseased branches with the saw, starting underneath the branch at the base where it meets the trunk, and cutting upward. When removing large branches, leave the branching collar--the wrinkled bark near the trunk--to help the cut heal more quickly.

Prune branches that drape toward the ground using the lopping shears. This type of pruning helps promote new growth and increase air circulation in the lower areas of the tree, but you can leave theses branches if you like the appearance.

Use the pruning shears or scissors to cut off half of the new growths, which are called "candles" and grow rapidly in the summer. Cut these small shoots back to the point where they connect to the trunk.

Use a pole pruner to reach the higher branches. The pole pruner has a saw and a hook blade to make pruning in the upper reaches of a tree easy.


Things You Will Need

  • Gloves
  • Pruning saw
  • Lopping shearers
  • Pole pruners


  • Watch for falling branches when using pole shearers.