Tree Foundation of Kern


toCut: Pruning maintains a tree's natural shape while eliminating crowded, rubbing, weakly attached, or poorly formed branches. Correct pruning will help a tree develop proper structure, control its size, direct its growth, and remain healthy. Improperly done, pruning can seriously affect the health, safety and beauty of a tree. Here are some pruning tips to guide you.

Pruning that cannot be done from the ground or a short ladder should be done by a competent arborist. Don't just hire any person with a chain saw!

Remove dead, diseased, criss-crossed or competing branches with a clean cut. Use the thinning method as shown. Space branches evenly around the tree at least eight inches apart. Select branches with wide attachments to the trunk. Narrow crotches are weak and can split out. It is not necessary to use a wound dressing on pruning cuts.

Don't leave unsightly branch stubs. Cut an unwanted branch at the trunk or where it attaches to another branch. Always cut outside the branch collar (swollen base), not flush to the trunk. The collar protects the tree from disease and insects.

Do not stub tree branches. This is called heading or shearing and causes the growth of vigorous upright shoots. They are weakly attached, crowded and the natural shape of the tree is destroyed.


Topping (cutting the leader branch) weakens the tree, making it susceptible to disease. Topping destroys the natural shape of the tree, and promotes the regrowth of crowded, weakly attached shoots.

Do not prune branches near or directly under utility cables yourself. Call the utility company instead.

Prune when tree is dormant or in winter to minimize trauma. Never remove more than 30% of canopy because there will be insufficient leaves remaining to support life.