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How to Prune a Small Tree

Pruning is really the best preventive maintenance a young plant can receive. It is critical for young trees to be trained to encourage them to develop a strong structure.

Too many young trees are pruned improperly or not pruned at all for several years. By then it may become a major operation to remove bigger branches, and trees may become deformed.

At planting, remove only diseased, dead, or broken branches. Begin training a plant during the dormant season following planting.

• Prune to shape young trees, but don’t cut back the leader.

• Remove crossing branches and branches that grow back towards the center of the tree.

• Remove multiple leaders on evergreens and other trees where a single leader is desirable.

how to prune a small tree• As young trees grow, remove lower branches gradually to raise the crown, and remove branches that are too closely spaced on the trunk.

• Trim off any branch stubs.

• Cut off any suckers at ground level or water sprouts along branches.

• Prune to encourage strong, even branches and crotches.

Source: University of Minnesota Horticutural Extension
Mike Zins and Deborah Brown, Pruning Trees and Shrubs, Item # 00628, 1997, All rights reserved

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