prune a tree
Outdoor Improvement

Learn how to prune a tree with this simple guide!

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If you are reading this blog, it means you already know what pruning is, but for confirmation only – removing specific branches or stems to benefit the whole tree is what gardeners consider pruning a tree.

There are several reasons why pruning a tree is important, and if you are serious about your gardening, you’ll take them into consideration.


To help prevent insect & decay organisms from entering the tree, you should remove all the damaged, diseased and dead branches.

Once a dense canopy on a tree is trimmed it increases the level of air and sunlight the tree gets, which further results in fewer disease problems.

To provide more food and water for the tree and eliminate weak wood, remove suckers & water sprouts. Further, in order to avoid or even prevent damage caused by crossing branches rubbing against each other, eliminate them.

As the tree grows older, weak or narrow crotches split apart which is why it’s important to remove these crotches to eliminate breaking and tearing of wood.

prune a tree

In gardening and tree pruning, there is something called co-dominant leaders.

This term refers to 2 branches growing straight up near the top of a tree and become equally dominant. Your priority should be to remove these co-dominant leaders. Cutting off one allows the other branch to grow. Removing one of the co-dominant leaders prevents the branches from splitting and tearing wood. This isn’t unlikely to happen in heavy winds.


When pruning a tree, you need to be careful and do it properly so that potentially incorrectly cut branches don’t trigger any hazards such as falling of the branches on the driveway or sidewalk due to a storm. Correct pruning procedures create and maintain a strong tree structure.

If you are wondering whether you need to adopt a certain shape of pruning to keep safety hazards away, the answer is – you don’t. The best way to go about this is to maintain a natural tree form.

prune a tree


Just as cutting dead ends of your hair stimulates its growth, pruning a tree helps it grow strong and “branchy”. It often stimulates growth in sparse areas of the tree. Obviously, it can also restrict growth where too much growth is undesirable.

The best time to prune a tree is in late winter or early spring, just before the tree begins to open its buds. Although, if you spot some damaged, diseased or dead trees before, be free to cut them to avoid even bigger damage.
At this time of year, some trees, such as maple and dogwood, will bleed sap. This bleeding should not harm them. Avoid hot dry periods and extreme winter cold for pruning time.

How to prune a tree?

prune a tree

Before you do anything to the tree, you need to determine why and what is to be pruned. Always start with a plan.

When you’ve realized what type of pruning you’ll be doing, decide what equipment is to be used. Most pruning tasks can be done with hand pruners, a pruning saw and loppers.

There are 2 types of hand pruners – bypass and anvil. Bypass pruners cut like scissors while anvil pruners cut with one sharp blade against a flat surface blade. Most experts in pruning will recommend bypass pruners because of their clean cut. After all, anvil pruners tend to crush tissue on the underside of a stem. Both types of hand pruners are made to cut wood ½ to ¾ inch diameter. Pruning saws quickly and easily cut wood up to 3” diameter. Just as with hand pruners, there are also 2 types of loppers – bypass and anvil. The bypass lopper is recommended.

Pruning wounds the tree so you need to be extra careful about the way you do it. If not done right, pruning can harm trees. Two examples of improper pruning are flush cuts and leaving a stub.

Unlike humans, trees do not ‘heal’ their wounds, they ‘seal’ them. When a branch is cut off, it is gone forever. If you prune right, a callus grows starting at the edge and in until the callus covers the cut. Flush cuts cause wounds that will not callus over.

If you feel this is too big a task for you, it’s always better to consult professionals from tree pruning Sydney for at least the first few times until you learn it yourself.

The way you prune a tree is really important because it determines the further life of your tree. Make sure you master all the rules of pruning before you actually go through with it. Good luck!

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