How to trim a white pine tree

Trimming White Pine Trees* – Toronto Master Gardeners


I have about 75 white pine trees on my property which I’ve been trimming every July in order to keep the branches close and the tree a good visual screen. Your statement on your website says: “Pruning the candles can used to shape a pine and keep it dense and within bounds. Completely breaking off the candle will discourage further elongation at that point. Shortening the candle, decreases the distance at which the next whorl of branches develops and makes the tree denser. Snapping the end off with your fingers rather than with pruning shears will avoid cutting off any expanding leaves which would then brown at their tips….White pines can also be pruned to control growth while the tree is still dormant and just before growth begins.” Because of that last sentence, I did not do any trimming of my trees last summer since I would prefer to do the trimming in the winter or early spring.

My question is: If I trim back some of last year’s new growth in February or March, will the cut ends of the branches develop new growth areas in late spring when the new growth normally occurs? In other words, will the tree respond in a similar way whether I trim it in July or trim it in February or March?



One of the key statements in our earlier response to your question, White pine trimming, is “There are two opportunities to prune your white pine (Pinus spp.): while the pine is still dormant and again when the ‘candles’ which are the expanding new growth have appeared…”

It is important to distinguish between pruning tree branches and pruning/trimming candles.   Pruning a tree during dormant season (e.g., late winter/early spring) will help the tree focus on strong shoots that grow rapidly – especially on the most severely pruned limbs. That being said, when the pine tree is in the “candle stage”, it can be pruned before the needles begin to unfold, which is around mid-June (dates will vary according to where you live, among other factors; references I consulted indicate that this period is usually from early June through early July). The candles can be pinched off or trimmed by 1/3 to 2/3 to limit the tree’s yearly growth.

Trimming the candles will encourage a denser growth, since by the end of that growing season, new terminal buds will have formed at the cut ends.  Next year’s growth will spread from these buds, creating another “whorl” of branches.  So….if you trim last year’s growth in February/March (which would likely include cutting off the new terminal buds), this would affect the current year’s growth (the “whorl”) that would have emerged from those terminal buds.   The overall effect would be that the growth would be less dense than if you were to continue to trim the candles in early July.  Accordingly, I suggest that if you are happy with the overall look of your trees, you continue to “trim” the growth as you have been doing.  If, on the other hand, you want a less dense look, pruning the terminal buds from last year’s growth in February/March would be fine – this would result in fewer “whorls”.

Should full branches require pruning, this should be done around now (February-March), as suggested by some experts, although others suggest that if branches are  small, you can prune them any time of the year.

Here are some helpful references:

  • The Virginia Cooperative Extension’s “A guide to successful pruning, pruning evergreen trees”,   states that candles of whorl-branched conifers (this includes pines) should be pinched back from mid-to late-spring. They caution the gardener to avoid pruning evergreen trees from late summer to early autumn, as this could stimulate new growth that would be damaged/killed by the cold weather (this is a good general point about when NOT to prune).
  • In our earlier response, we provided you with a link to a University of Idaho publication, “How to prune coniferous evergreen trees”. It is recommended that pruning be done in late winter to early spring, and not in later spring to summer, when the live branches are growing. If you do prune during the growing season, you are more likely to damage the bark, and the tree would be increased risk for fungal infection.
  • One very interesting publication, by David Funk (of the US Department of Agriculture – Forest Service) in 1961 “Pruning white pine: a literature review” states (on p. 4) that some experts have found that the best times to prune are from December through February, but also notes that other experts feel that when pruning smaller limbs, the season you prune is not important. He goes on to advise that pruning early is the most satisfactory, and provides a good explanation as to why this minimizes risk of fungal infection. (There is no need to download this document – simply click on the page to move to the next one)

Finally, as Toronto master gardeners, we generally respond to questions from gardeners in or around Toronto, or our province of Ontario. While we are happy to answer your questions, for future reference, you may wish to contact Master Gardener groups closer to your home.  For example,  see the Michigan State University Extension – Berrien County:  near the top of the page is a telephone number for those with home gardening questions. Although you do not live in Wayne County, the Master Gardeners of Western Wayne County has a very helpful website, where you can pose any gardening questions, either online or via telephone.




Pruning White Pine


April, 2012

Pruning White Pine

A Reference Guide for Foresters


22 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333


Practical advice for your land and trees from the Maine Forest Service


Pruning is removing branches of a standing tree flush with the outside of the branch collar. When pruning

is done to increase income, trees that will grow to sawtimber size and quality are pruned.


Why prune?


White pine can be pruned to improve the health and appearance of a tree, or to increase its commercial

value. Pruning of trees destined for a lumber or veneer mill can be very profitable. It improves value by:


 Increasing production of high grade clear wood.

 Reducing stem taper.

 Reducing damage potential from disease agents such as white pine blister rust.


When to Prune.


It is best to begin pruning white pine when the tree is young and the branches are small. This allows the most clear lumber to grow on the bole, since knots form as each year's new growth surrounds a living or dead branch. Also, it is easier, more efficient and healthier for the tree to prune small branches regularly than to prune large limbs.

Usually the tree should be pruned after it is at least 4 inches at DBH. Pruning operations may be repeated regularly until the lower 17’ to 25' of the bole (higher on very productive trees) has been pruned. Never remove more than 1/3 of the live crown.


Economic Benefits of Pruning


The commercial value of crop trees can be greatly increased by pruning—studies have shown that stumpage values can be increased 20 to 25%. It is generally not profitable to prune trees that will be removed in intermediate thinnings. The following table shows the ratio of clear and knotty lumber per 1,000 board feet grown on trees pruned at different



Diameter of Knotty Core  Board Feet of Clear Lumber  Board Feet of Knotty Lumber

       3 inch                                    920                                         80

       4 inch                                    835                                        165

       5 inch                                    750                                        250

       6 inch                                   660                                        340

       7 inch                                    595                                        405

       UNPRUNED                           NONE                                    1000


* Measured on logs 12" in diameter at the small end and 14' long. Harvard Forest Bulletin, "Pruning for Profit as Applied

to Eastern White Pine." Other studies on small samples of white pine in Maine found, after adjusting for taxes and

inflation, 13.5% and 13.65% increases in value of pruned as compared to unpruned trees.


How to Prune


Record Keeping


1. Make sure you or your landowner keep good records of which trees are pruned and when they are pruned.


2. Pruning records will alert the mill to your pruned logs’ value. Logs that look the same on the outside may have significantly different worth. Logs with more years of post-pruned growth have more clear lumber and higher value.


3. Remind your landowner that notarized records can be entered into the local registry of deeds miscellaneous book. Records are less apt to get lost and they might be a valuable record for landowners or heirs.


4. Not every mill will recognize the extra value of previously pruned pines. It is important for you and the landowner to search out those pine mills that do pay extra for these trees, and to check with these mills.


Need for records.


Sometimes mills will send out a representative before the harvest to check on the condition of these trees.


Tree Selection


1. Marking trees to be pruned before pruning will save time and labor costs.


2. Prune only dominant trees with healthy crowns that receive direct sunlight on their tops and at least partial sunlight on their sides.


3. Trees to be pruned must be released from competition before, or at the time they are pruned. If this is not done, many pruned potential crop trees will end up as intermediate or suppressed trees that will be thinned out of

the stand before they have a chance to grow enough clear wood to justify the work of pruning. One of the criteria for choosing trees to be pruned should be picking only trees that are planned to remain growing in the stand for at least another 20 years.


4. Prune only trees with straight, upright trunks, and no splits, forks, other defects, or branches larger than 2 inches in diameter within the first 9 to 17 feet of trunk.


5. Trees to prune should be at least 4 inches at DBH and no more than 12 inches at DBH, although exceptionally thrifty, dominant, small limbed pines up to 16 inches could be done.


6. Plan on pruning at least 100 trees future crop trees per acre (approximately 20' x 20' spacing) where species and stem conditions permit. To maintain stocking, where possible prune an additional 50 trees well distributed over an acre,

for a total of 150 trees per acre.


Pruning Method


1. Ideally, crop trees should be pruned to a height of 17' (1- 16' log, and a 1' stump) or 25’ (2- 12’ logs and a 1’ stump) where tree form and quality permit. Although 17’ is ideal, pruning to lower levels (anywhere from 8’ – 17’) will still

benefit future economic values. Additionally, landowners may have reasons for pruning for other non-economic reasons, including safety, recreation trail improvements, aesthetics, or just for the enjoyment of being outside and

improving their woodlot.


2. Do not prune more than one-third of the live crown at a time. Example: if the live crown is 15’ high, do not prune more than 5' of live branches on the stem.


3. When necessary, prune in several different operations or height increments to achieve the desired branch-free length.  Dead and rubbing branches should be pruned.  Pruning live branches near the ground on young white pine may decrease the incidence of blister rust. Low pruning and thinning of some pine species may also prevent snow damage.


4. Trees should be released on at least three sides, with space to the nearest abutting crown of at least 5 feet.


Pruning Equipment


1. Never prune with an ax. Use a pruning saw. Small dead branches and branches within 6 feet of the ground are easily removed with a hand saw. A lightweight power saw in skilled hands is effective on lower branches, but care must be

used to avoid damaging the tree. For safety, do not attempt to prune higher limbs with a power saw. Prune to the desired height with a pole pruning saw.


1. Always use a hard hat and eye protection when pruning.


2. For good equipment from a forestry supplier, a hand pruning saw may cost from $20 - $60; a pole pruner from $35-$200.


For more information, please contact:

Maine Forest Service



22 State House Station

Augusta, ME


(207) 287-2791 or



For pruning instuctions go to Pruning Your Forest Trees

Mountain Pines, Part III: Pruning and Shaping

Photo by the author

In previous issues (“Mountain Pines, Part I” and “Mountain Pines, Part II”), you learned about popular varieties, about overexposure, planting and care behind the mountain pine. And now we proceed to the most interesting - the formation and pruning of plants.

In our gardens, pruning and shaping of pines is a rare matter, usually forced to do it either by the natural aging of the plant, or by the unattractive appearance of mountain pines. First you need to accept the fact that in the shade and with excessive moisture, pine trees grow very poorly, their shoots are stretched, and the plant looks weak and oppressed. The situation can be corrected only by transplanting to an open place or removing a barrier to direct sunlight. In mountain pines, as in most conifers, the bases of the branches shaded by their own vegetative mass become bare over time. And this is a normal, natural appearance of an adult plant. However, such a picture is not always able to decorate the site, and there is a desire to help the plant return to its former state and greatness.


When pruning pine trees, two important characteristics of this plant must always be considered. Firstly, pine does not form buds on old wood, but belongs to plants with an apical growth type. This means that when forming it is necessary to work only with the buds of last year's shoot or cut off the growth of the current year. Secondly, the shoots located in the upper part of the crown and on the crown grow more actively and more than the branches along the periphery of the lower part of the plant. In addition, I noticed that the length of growth depends on external factors (humidity, temperature, nutrition), and the size of shoots on one plant differs every year. The above nuances are not a problem. As confirmation of this, let me remind you that pine is the most popular plant in the famous art of bonsai and nivaki.

In the previous review article, I talked about my adult mountain pine mugo pumilio , which can be used as an example to show how to correct the crown of an elongated plant. It goes without saying that at the beginning of work, in April, I had to cut down a couple of large pear branches located in close proximity to a group of conifers. Then, having tied a narrow and high yew with a strong rope, I pulled it off and tied it. All this significantly improved the lighting in the right area. Old pine shoots were elongated, the crown was loose and shapeless, and at the base there were many dead branches. Having removed the old wood “on the stump”, I laid large branches of the neighboring juniper at the base of the pine and achieved this more decorative look of the lower part of the mountain pine. Next, I chose the largest and most beautiful "parabolic" branches and tied them to the driven metal stakes. In early May, at the ends of each shoot, she plucked out all the young “candles”, and as compensation for the damage caused, she treated the pine tree three times at weekly intervals with the signature “Cytovit + Zircon” cocktail (5 ml each per 5 liters of water). The result was expected - the pine laid a lot of buds at the ends of the shoots. The following year, the plant fluffed up and began to look much more attractive. I did not completely remove the growths, but limited myself to pinching the central shoots in each whorl. These simple manipulations restrained the growth of branches and gave the pine a natural look.


Shaping pines is an interesting activity that is very different from the primitive leveling of decorative leafy shrubs such as spirea. This is a long-term, painstaking, creative work that requires not only diligence, but also the inclusion of imagination. The beauty is that with pines everything is always quick and easy, and for the first ten years each plant takes about 20 minutes ... per year. With the help of pinching, you can restrain the growth of pines, which is especially important for small areas where you always want to place more different types. In my opinion, the most interesting thing in shaping is the ability to give popular varieties an unusual, outstanding look. In addition, if you form a plant from "early childhood", then you can change even the simplest and most common species of pine beyond recognition. So, for example, annually shortening all young candles by half, I managed to turn an ordinary pine tree in a few years pumilio in a low and thick fluffy rug. Not a single experienced gardener, looking at the photographs, could guess the name of my pine variety. And this is a small reason for pride.

There are a lot of varieties of pine, and each of them has an initial predisposition to form its own characteristic crown shape. Based on the information from the description of the variety in the catalog, you can choose a strict geometric or pictorial irregular shape and pinch it to support it. Most mountain pine cultivars themselves form flat-rounded bushes. From the pines "Lilliput" ("Lilliput"), "Orange Sun" ("Orange Sun"), "December Gold" ("December Gold"), "Pigglemee" ("Piglmy"), "Sherwood Compact" ("Sherwood Compact ”), “Kokos” (“Coconut”), “Ophir” (“Ophir”), “Mops” (“Pug”), “Gnom” (“Gnome”) and others can be easily formed into a hemisphere, a rounded pillow or a cone with wide base. Pine trees “Frisia” (“Frisia”), “Alpenzwerg” (“Alpenzwerg”), “'Schweizer Tourist” (“Schweitzer Tourist”), “Colombo” (“Colombo”), “Andrzej” (“Andrzej”) and “ 'Dom” (“House”) is an excellent material for creating narrow, dense columns. From the varieties "Benjamin" ("Benjamin"), "Winzig" ("Winzig"), "Knapenburg" ("Knapenburg"), "Picobello" ("Picobello"), lovely flat rugs are obtained.

As for the wonderful varieties with an irregular shape of the crown (“Jacobsen” (“Jacobsen”), “Pal Maleter” (“Paul Maleter”), “Krauskopf'” (“Krauskopf”), “Rositech” ), “Chameleon” (“Chameleon”), “Fruhlingsgold” (“Fryulingsgold”) and others), they deserve a special creative approach. To maintain spectacular contrasting growths, an asymmetric crown can be formed, similar to Japanese nivaki.

All of the above options are also suitable for the formation of standard pines, in which the bottom of the crown is better illuminated, and you always want to emphasize the stately appearance with a strict geometric shape.

So, what is the right way to form a pine tree? The best time to pinch is when the young shoots are two thirds of their height but still soft and brittle. If you break them out or pinch them in this state, then the needles will not be injured, and when the “stumps” grow at the end of the shoot, it will be hidden by needles. Thus, it turns out that no “surgical intervention” will be visible, and a neat appearance is the goal of pinching. By tradition, I am engaged in the formation of my pines on May 8-9, and a cardinal pinching with the removal of all buds can be carried out in early spring. An injured shoot immediately releases a liquid sticky resin, and in order not to get dirty, you need to dress appropriately and use latex gloves. It is also worth preparing a container for scraps, which also intensively release resin. I stopped using “candle” trimmings as a mulching material since I had to scrub our dog’s paws with “White Spirit”.

In order to have something to compare the result with, as well as to track the intensity of growth, I recommend taking a picture of the plant before cutting. It is more convenient to start work from the top of the pine crown, where the most powerful shoots are located. If you remove the “candles” to the base with a twisting movement, then there will be no growth this year, and the pine will lay many buds in the summer. This method inhibits growth, but does not change the shape of the crown. If you pinch the young shoots by a third or half, then the shortened shoots of this year will grow, and the pine will become thicker. This method increases the decorative effect, but the shape of the plant remains the same. To achieve an elongated, but compact form, you need to leave the strongest central shoot in the whorl, and remove the rest. The following year, long vertical shoots for branching are pinched, and the side shoots are not removed, but shortened by a third.

When the original shape of the mountain pine looks like a ball or cone, but there are “cavities” in the crown that are not filled with branches, you can correct the picture. In this case, in the first year, the shoots on the “bald spot” do not need to be removed, and all the other “candles” on the pine tree should be pinched by a third. It is easier to explain this way: if the shoot goes beyond the desired contour, then we remove the candles, but not all at once, but two-thirds of the total. If the branch is short, then we do not touch the central “candle” in the whorl, and shorten the rest of the shoots a little, but not everything is the same. To understand the general approach, I propose to imagine yourself in the role of a hairdresser working with thinning scissors. The goal is naturalness, so you should not leave shoots of the same length on one section of the crown. There - more left, here - less, then everything can be corrected.

To give the pine a flat, cushion-like shape, strong side shoots are folded over and tied to pegs, or better to studs driven into the ground. The shape of the pine tree will look like a lotus and, in order to reduce the height of the center, you can cut out part of last year's shoots, and pinch all the “candles” in half. When pruning, you can remove up to 1/5 of the mass of the crown, and when pinching, there are no restrictions. When working, make even cuts and do not leave stumps. It makes no sense to feel sorry for the old and half-needleless branches. It is better to cut them out so that the old wood does not become a “home” for pathogens of fungal diseases.

A week or two after the main work, an adjustment is made, as over time the missing areas on the crown become visible.

Removed branches are a pity to throw away, and I use them to protect against pests. If you stick pine branches around radish or cabbage crops, they do not dry out for a long time and repel cruciferous flea and other insects with their aroma. In May, we prepare a vitamin drink from fragrant pine candles with the addition of licorice root and onion peel (see Professor Efimov's "Golden Recipe"). Maybe it was this sweet and healing pine decoction that influenced me in due time, but I have more and more new ideas for improving my pines. It is a pity that nature gives so little time for this interesting work - only a couple of weeks a year. Of course, mountain pines planted in a spacious area can do without formative pruning. But, knowing what a fertile material it is for the realization of creative ideas, you always want to make your plants unique and unrepeatable.

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how to properly form Scots pine in the garden so that it does not grow up, for splendor


How to form the crown of Scots pine

  • Time to trim
  • General rules
  • Step by step instructions
  • For the purpose of rejuvenation
  • Crown shaping
  • Pinching
  • Thinning
  • Pruning
  • Sanitary pruning
  • Care after haircut
  • Video: pine haircut

  • Coniferous trees
  • Pine
  • Pine cultivation
  • Pine planting and care
  • How to shape the crown of Scots pine


Scotch pine does not require special care in order to develop. It can grow even in poor or rocky soil and reach great heights. Pruning is an essential part of caring for conifers. For more information on how to properly form a crown and cut pine branches, read the material.

  • plucking;
  • reduction of shoots of an adult plant.
  • The procedure is carried out for those parts that are not needed and can harm, creating excessive shading or conditions for the vital activity of pests. Periodic shearing is also necessary to prevent branches from coming into contact with power lines and other communications. If the procedure is neglected, the tree will not become more fluffy, green or decorative. It will look painful and unsightly. The main goal of the process is to preserve the natural beauty and health of the plant. Partial thinning of the crown helps to maintain a balance between the volume of branches and roots. A young pine can also be given a given shape, creating a beautiful decor for a summer cottage.

    Important! Before cutting into a supposedly dry old branch, use a knife to scrape the bark. If there is dried plant tissue under it, then you can carefully cut it off.

    Proper pruning of conifers begins in the first days of February and is done until the beginning of March. Pruning pine trees after sap flow has begun is not recommended. The exception is dry branches, in which there are no juices. Due to circumcision in the summer, the bark is severely damaged, conditions are created for the penetration of fungal infections into the plant.

    General rules

    Do not be afraid of the huge size to which the tree can grow. In the country, you can plant dwarf and ornamental pines. When choosing seedlings, be sure to pay attention to the root system. It must be developed. The plant itself at the time of planting on the site should be no more than 5 years old. In the future, seedlings are accepted worse. When properly planted, pine trees take root well. After all, its main feature is unpretentiousness. She does not need careful care and intensive watering or fertilizing.

    As regards pruning, please note the following rules:

    1. For the first time, a pine tree may need pruning at the time of planting: damaged branches or roots must be removed.
    2. The removal of young branches is delayed until they are large enough to understand how much they affect the shape and whether the grower needs to cut them.
    3. Most conifers, including pine, have one central leader. If there are several of them, then you need to leave only one, the strongest stem shoot.

    Step-by-step instructions

    May require:

    • wood saw is the easiest tool to use;
    • sharp pruning shears or pruner for branches smaller than 20 mm.

    Please note that the pruner comes in the form of scissors, it is designed to cut living branches. And there is a secateurs, in which the lower base is made in the form of an anvil - it is used to remove dry branches. This variety works like an axe, so it cannot cleanly cut living branches. Scissor-shaped secateurs designed for cutting living branches!

    Basic cutting rules:

    1. Inspect the tree before work and mark targets: branch density, overall shape, size. This is important for both dwarf and tall species of pines, spruces and spruces.
    2. You need to work with a young tree, adults do not tolerate the removal of branches and get sick for a long time.
    3. The center stem cannot be removed. Otherwise, you get a bushy plant of indefinite shape. In addition, the lack of a central trunk will make the tree more prone to insect infestation and disease.
    4. If a branch is to be partially sawn off, be sure to leave a green shoot near the cut, otherwise it will die off completely.
    5. Unlike coniferous shrubs, pine does not have a “dead zone” (a sector in which needles die off due to density), so it needs less pruning. But the lower and lush inner branches can die off due to shading, in which case it is better to remove them.

    For rejuvenation

    Pay attention to the technique of formation and growth of a pine branch. At the end, an ordinary kidney is formed, which gives the growth of the next year. If you do not prevent it from growing, then the branch will stretch, the needles will fall off along the length of the branch, and you will get a long shoot with landscaping at the end.

    Important! For trimming, wear clothes you don't mind throwing away. Pine resin, which will be on it after the procedure, is almost not washed off.

    Therefore, the gardener must:

    • shorten the length to stop the branch from growing and activate dormant buds;
    • cut old branches that no longer have buds that can be activated by pruning.

    This method of rejuvenating trees in a summer cottage is usually used once every three years.

    Rejuvenation guide:

    1. Trim the side branches 10-15 cm.
    2. Leave the bottom shoots longer than the top shoots to form a beautiful cone-shaped tree.

    Crown shaping

    Probably the first bonsai trees were natural formations, and people noticed this form and began to cultivate it in gardens. Styles are characterized by the presence of symmetry or asymmetry in form, curved lines, which should embody the impact of natural factors: wind, snow, etc.

    Wood shaping styles include:

    • catbooks ;
    • Kyoto form ;
    • tekan ;
    • sokan ;
    • nivaki and others.

    Pines and spruces are easy to cone because that is their natural shape. But their branches also form well into a pyramid, a tiered structure, or create the shape of a familiar bonsai. Haircut allows you to slow down growth and make the crown more lush and green. Bonsai is done when the seedling is not older than 7 years.

    In this case, each shoot must be cut separately, so as to obtain the desired shape. Formative pruning is carried out in early May, when young shoots have formed, but flowering has not yet begun. The next year, the operation is repeated, and then simply maintain the achieved shape as needed.

    Trimming diagram step by step:

    1. Imagine the general shape of a tree, better draw or take a photo you like as a basis.
    2. Examine your pine tree. Decide which branches to cut. Remove some, but not all, otherwise the tree will wither.
    3. The bonsai technique also involves bending the branches into a horizontal shape with the help of guy lines and wire. It works well with young flexible branches.
    4. If the whole shoot needs to be chopped off, make an incision into the ring to induce a resin that will seal the wound.
    5. To cut a pine into a beautiful spherical shape, it is necessary to cut the young growths that have appeared to different lengths - from 2 to 8 cm. Low pruning leads to the appearance of highly branched small branches that form a dense ball, which gives the branches fluffiness.
    6. To improve the decorative properties, it is also practiced to pluck out some of the needles. This will improve air exchange in the crown and allow the formation of decorative groups of elements.
    7. Pay attention to the natural shape of the tree. Black pine (Austrian) is wide-conical when young and umbrella-shaped when mature. Weymouth pine, or eastern white pine, is narrow-pyramidal. Trimming in such a way as to get a ball out of the cone is not welcomed by bonsai specialists.

    If you intend to form a nivaki style pine, then the algorithm will be as follows:

    1. Sanitary pruning, removing dry, light-needled and thin branches. For this, the end of autumn or the beginning of winter is suitable, when the air temperature drops to + 5 ° С.
    2. Nivaki is made according to the triangle principle: each individual branch should have the shape and location of the needles, close to a triangle, directed with one point upwards. Leave the formative pruning in the middle of summer.
    3. It will not be possible to immediately give the desired shape. It is unacceptable to cut more than 30% of the green mass of the plant, so select and refine those branches that can be given it, and next year you will form the next group.
    4. Shape needs to be looked after. To do this, pinch those shoots that violate it.

    After the tree is shaped, work begins with growth. In some places it needs to be slowed down, and in others it needs to be strengthened. Pay attention to the branch growth technique. First, a new shoot (candle) appears from the kidney, then it lengthens, and after that they go into the growth of the needle. They will grow until mid-summer. In the interval between the appearance of new needles and their complete formation by mid-July, pinching is carried out. Someone does it with nails, someone with scissors.

    Both old and new needles are inspected for fit. When plucking, follow the basic rule: the more needles, the more vigorous the growth of the branch. If you need it to continue to develop, leave more needles. At the end of the shoot that you pinch, a whorl of new small shoots with shortened needles forms in the next season. Thus, more lush sections of the branch are obtained. Fewer needles are left on the upper shoots and more on the weak, lower and inner shoots. They also prefer not to touch the inner branches at all in order to preserve their fluffiness. Pinching enhances air circulation in the crown, helps to distribute the energy of growth throughout the tree, directing it to the right areas.


    Thinning is the complete or partial removal of branches. It is carried out in order to remove those branches that do not fit into the overall configuration. Thinning also prevents thickening. Branches that can rub against each other are a potential problem. Mechanical damage creates conditions for infection of wood with fungi. Branches greater than 90° can break in strong winds and should also be removed. Thinning is carried out along with sanitary pruning as necessary.


    Conifers grow in any, including unfavorable climate, so it seems that pruning is not necessary for them. But without it, the tree will look slightly pubescent, with long branches and sparse needles.

    You will be interested to know how to trim a pine tree in the niwaki style.

    When planning pruning, clearly set goals for yourself: why you need to do it, and what should be the result. Unlike hardwoods, pruning conifers does not enhance their growth. It is justified only in those cases when it comes to its sanitary variety or shaping the tree.

    Sanitary trim

    Sanitary pruning is designed to rejuvenate the plant. It consists of removing the lower branches of the pine tree. Gardeners also cut all dry, damaged and diseased shoots. This should be done every time a problem occurs and needs to be fixed safely. Pruning keeps the tree healthy and encourages dormant buds to grow more vigorously.

    Important! Rejuvenation pruning every 3 years. Thanks to this procedure, the tree will look great and take up much less space.

    Regardless of the reason for pruning, the methods for pruning branches are the same. You can remove the whole dry branch, as well as shorten or pinch part of the shoot. But, as a rule, pinching or shaping does not apply to sanitary pruning.


    Pruning is stressful for pine. At the site of the cuts, an open space is formed through which pathogens enter the plant. The released resin will quickly tighten them. But this takes some time. To speed up the process, gardeners cover open wounds with latex paint to prevent infection. Before applying, make sure the paint is non-toxic and can be used on trees. Water thoroughly immediately after pruning.

    We advise you to find out which plants can grow under pines.

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