Why Do People Prune Trees

Many trees are pruned in the fall, winter, or spring. People are sometimes puzzled if they should prune their trees or why this is done. There are many benefits from pruning your trees, particularly your fruit trees.

Fruit Trees

Fruit Trees are pruned for many reasons. If not kept pruned they would grow naturally, often shooting branches straight up into the air. The fruit on these branches becomes hard to reach. This fruit becomes wasted for our use, although birds will enjoy it.

Fruit trees are typically pruned to keep branches well spaced, and down low, making for an easier harvest.

Fewer Branches Mean Fewer Fruits or Flowers

When a tree that has fruit or flowers, is pruned the fewer branches will result in fewer flowers, and less fruit. However the flowers, and fruit tend to be bigger. As such, by pruning to reduce the number of branches on a tree, and eliminating those that are not in a good position, a person can increase the size of the fruit.

Improving the Tree’s Shape

Trees that are grown for ornamental reasons are, of course, pruned to improve their over all shape and appearance. The desire of the gardener is to have a full, symmetrical plant, or one shaped to make a visual statement.

Crabapples on my own tree.

Tree Health

Pruning is also done to remove unhealthy branches. Typically before anything else is removed from tree, the unhealthy branches should be taken away, thus leaving the gardener with a healthy tree from which to work.

When a tree has too many branches they can tend to rub on each other, this can cause injures to the tree and can open it up for infection, or parasite invasion. So by removing excess, messy, branches, the overall health of the tree can be maintained.


Trees are also pruned for basic safety reasons. Sometimes branches threaten power-lines or nearby buildings. These should be removed. You may want to note that if your neighbors tree is leaning over your property you usually have the legal right to prune and remove any branches that are over your yard.

What to do with your Branches?

While most branches can be used for firewood you may want to know that apple tree branches are particularly good for rabbits, hamsters, and Guinea pigs, to chew on. Make sure you have not sprayed your tree with any chemicals before you give your pet a branch from your tree to nibble.

Branches cannot be composted by many cities have branch clean up days in conjunction with their regular garbage pick up, and the branches are mulched up and used on city park trails, so you should try to look for this option when pruning your trees.

You will also want to note that different trees have different times of the year when they should be pruned, and you should follow proper pruning technique for each plant type.

More Gardening Links

Stunning Fractals in the Garden

How to Attract Hummingbirds to your Garden

How to Keep Deer Out of your Garden

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Published in: Gardening


RSSComments: 11  |  Post a Comment
  1. Thanks for the reminder to trim the apple trees. I usually do this towards the end of winter, just before it really warms up for spring. I did not do prune the fruit trees last year and the apple trees are more messy as a result.

  2. nice share…

  3. very nice write and I also like that pic.

  4. i like it.

  5. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  6. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  7. wonderful piece!

  8. Very informative. We do prune our trees for the some of the similar reasons you pointed out here.

  9. Now this has taught me such a lot. I have an apple tree that needs pruning, I’m realising now that I’ve read this. I’ll be out there with the pruners when the spring returns – too late in the year to do it now, I suspect.
    Thanks Mark. Didn’t know you were a ‘Trionder’ as well as a ‘Wikinutter’ !!!!!

  10. Thanks for explaining this. I never really understood why my grandpa spent so much time tree pruning in calgary. Do most people enjoy doing this or is it more of a chore?

  11. thanks for all the great advice. We need major tree care in Orlando. We just moved and I love all the new trees in the yard, I just don’t know how.

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