Introduced to the United States in 1759, the Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) is a native of Austria, Yugoslavia and northern Italy. The hardy evergreen grows up to 60 feet tall, with a 20- to-40 foot spread. In youth, the tree has a pyramid shape but in maturity, it has an open, broad shape with a flat top. It does well in full sun and various types of soil, tolerating drought and heat. The Austrian pine prefers moist, well-drained soil or dry soil, as opposed to wet. This can cause root rot. Prune Austrian pine trees to keep them healthy and create a more desirable shape.
Prune conifers, like Austrian pine, any time of year without fearing damage. However, trimming them during the dormant (winter) season lessens the amount of resin and sap flow from cut limbs.
Cut off branches that are too long or those that are growing in a wayward fashion with the pruning shears or saw. These limbs are not helping the aesthetic appearance of the tree. Cut them off where they meet the trunk or other branches.
Place all cuts at the branch's collar. This is the thick, flared out section at the base of the limb, where it meets other wood. The tissue here will heal the quickest.
Look for branches that are infected with Diplodia canker. This disease is identified by areas of dead bark throughout a branch. Prune them during dry weather by cutting them off where they meet healthy wood.
Cut branches that are infected with Diplodia tip blight. The fungus causes the tree's newest needles to be brown and stunted. The needles looks like short brown tufts, and there are small black pieces of fungus at the needle bases. Pruning these branches will not make the tree healthier but will improve the appearance.