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DIY: Pruning Pine Trees in Winter

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DIY: Pruning Pine Trees in Winter

December 8, 2013

I know you don’t want to think about this–it’s cold outside, after all–but now would be a good time to start pruning your pine trees. They’re waiting. You might as well bundle up and get it over with.

What are we trying to accomplish here, you may grumble. Well, since you asked, pruning will shape a tree into something beautiful with a structure that has integrity to better withstand the effects of wind, snow, and other weather conditions that damage branches. And by removing dead or diseased wood, you will make a tree healthier. Don’t forget your gloves, by the way.

Photography via Niwaki.

A Niwaki Tripod Ladder (£7.50) has a stable base and will make the job feel a lot less wobblier. Here, HOLE Hagesenter designers prepare to prune pine trees in Norway.
Above: A Niwaki Tripod Ladder (£207.50) has a stable base and will make the job feel a lot less wobblier. Here, HOLE Hagesenter designers prepare to prune pine trees in Norway.
A pair of 8-inch Tobisho A-Type Secateurs (£90.83) is useful for eliminating suckers.
Above: A pair of 8-inch Tobisho A-Type Secateurs (£90.83) is useful for eliminating suckers.

Above: The first step is to get rid of the clutter. Suckers are thin branches that sprout haphazardly from a trunk or larger support branches; they make a tree look like it has a Sideshow Bob haircut.

 Prune older trees first and wait until winter is nearly over before you prune younger, more fragile trees.
Prune older trees first and wait until winter is nearly over before you prune younger, more fragile trees.

Prune older trees lightly and reserve your greater enthusiasm for shaping younger, more malleable trees. .

This is an update of a post originally published January 2, 2013.

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for pine tree with our Pine Tree: A Field Guide.

Interested in other types of trees? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various trees (specimen, deciduous, evergreen) with our Trees: A Field Guide.

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