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How to Prune Weeping Pine Trees

Weeping pine trees are also known as Pinus strobus "Pendula" or Eastern white pine. They are native to North American and are hardy in zones 3B through 7. The weeping pine tree is used as a hedge or as a specimen tree in landscape design. It grows slowly and a mature tree can reach a height of 6 to 12 feet with a spread of 25 to 35 feet. If left untrained by pruning they will grow into sprawling shrubs reaching a height of 3 feet. Weeping pines also require pruning to remove diseased or damaged branches and to develop a central trunk.

Cut away any damaged, broken, or diseased branches as soon as possible. Do this when the damage occurs. The tree does not have to be in its dormant state.

Train a young weeping white pine to develop a central trunk by cutting off any low branches that develop at the trunk. Do not leave a stub as this lends itself to disease. This can be done in the winter when the tree is dormant.

Trim back any long weeping branches that are getting close to the ground. You do not want the branches to grow along the ground as they will form a ground cover. Cut them back to above ground height. This can be done in the winter or in the early spring.

Cut back branches if the tree is spreading beyond its boundaries within your landscape design. Cut back to a branch or to the main trunk. Do this in the winter or early spring.

Trim back new growth by cutting back the new shoots (called candles) to half their length. This can be done in spring after the candles appear. The candle should have completed its growth before you do the trimming–the needles will still be soft.


The pruning tools that you use will be determined by the size and location of the branch. When the tree is young you will probably only need hand pruning shears. When the tree matures if you cut any major branches you might require the lopping shears, pole pruner, or tree saw.

Weeping pine trees are fairly uncommon and may be hard to locate.

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