So you’ve decided that the young tree you recently planted could use some pruning. It’s not a bad idea considering that pruning is essential in the development of a tree. Keep in mind that trees that receive the correct pruning will require less maintenance as they mature. With all that said, there are right ways and wrong ways to prune. One mistake could even lead to disaster for some trees. In this blog post, we will walk you through the ins and outs of pruning for young trees.

Getting Started with Tree Pruning

As mentioned in this PDF from, you want to be mindful of a few things prior to getting started.

  • Don’t just prune for the sake of pruning – All tree care should have a purpose, regardless of the task. It’s no different with tree cutting. Be aware that each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree.
  • Know that pruning mistakes can be life-threatening for the tree – Remember that pruning cut location is critical to the growth of a tree and wound closure response. Ideally, you want to make cuts just outside the branch collar to avoid damaging the trunk. Plus, improper pruning can lead to permanent internal decay. If you find that a large branch must be shortened, it’s best practice to prune it back to a secondary branch or bud.  
  • Don’t think that trees can heal as people do – Far too often, homeowners will compromise the health of their tree while pruning but fall into the belief that it will heal on its own. However, this notion is false. A wounded tree must first grow over the damage. Interestingly, the wound is contained within the tree forever.
  • Steer clear of making large cuts as much as possible – Not surprisingly, small cuts do less damage to the three than large ones. A major benefit of pruning a young tree is that it reduces the need for more drastic care down the road.

Tree Pruning Tools

Homeowners often ask us which tools work best for pruning their trees. Chances are that you will need a variety of tools available, including the following:

  • Hand pruners for small branches
  • Hedge shears for shaping edges
  • Lopping shears or a pruning saw to make cuts larger than one-half inch in diameter

How to Handle the Branches

You want a solid structure of primary branches to be established while the tree is young. In a perfect world, trees that have yet to mature will consist of a strong, central trunk with sturdy, well-spaced branches. It’s important to know that some tree species develop a few of these characteristics naturally, while some may need more frequent attention.

Your local arborist will likely suggest that most of your tree’s branches be pruned away at maturity to allow room for mowing, pedestrians, and vehicle traffic. Whether it’s vertical or radial, you can’t underestimate the significance of spacing and balance.

Here are some additional noteworthy pieces of information regarding permanent branch selection:

  • The strength of branch structure depends on the relative size of both the branches and branch angles.
  • Branches with weak attachments should be pruned while small.
  • Avoid removing too many branches, as trees rely on supporting branches for food production and storage.
  • Limit your pruning to less than 25 percent of the tree’s crown. Believe it or not, removing too much of the canopy leaves the tree lacking nutrients, with unhealthy reduced growth, and with increased stress.

Overall, it’s safe to limit your pruning of newly planted trees to the removal of dead or broken branches. A tree then needs some time to recover from the stress of transplanting and become accustomed to its environment. Most tree pruning companies will recommend holding off on additional pruning until at least the second or third year.

Get in Touch with an Arborist

We just threw a lot of information your way. But it’s crucial that our customers understand that tree trimming and pruning should not be taken lightly and simply viewed as another task to be checked off your weekend to-do list. Trees add beautiful landscaping to your yard, much-needed shade, and curb appeal with proper upkeep. That’s why we take being the preferred tree pruner in Vero Beach so seriously. Rest assured that we only use the highest security and safety measures while delivering excellence in your project.

We come across situations on a regular basis where homeowners don’t think about contacting a professional for residential or commercial tree care. Instead, they choose to take on their tree pruning project and only make things worse. Homeowners can cause injury to their tree, their property, or even themselves. The team at Anthony’s has been in the industry for years, so we’ve been able to develop techniques that are meant to protect the health and beauty of your trees while ensuring safety.

Please be mindful of your tree as you embark on routine tree cutting. More than likely, the issue will require the guidance and expertise of a professional. You can feel comfortable knowing that we are ISA-certified, licensed, and insured. Not to mention, we use only the most innovative tools and equipment while providing services that are affordable and of the highest quality.

Don’t make the mistake of putting your young, newly planted tree at risk. Instead, see what Anthony’s Tree Trimming can for you. As a new customer, you can enjoy 10 percent off all new plant installation and tree services. Contact us today for a free estimate.