How to Trim Your Tree Branches: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pruning

Last Updated on April 20, 2022 by Kravelv

If you’re an avid gardener, you probably understand the significance of regular pruning for your trees. However, beginners often have a hard time understanding the tools and strategies of growing a charming home garden. Trees require pruning to keep them shapely and aesthetically pleasing, alongside allowing a healthy, and unhindered growth.

Pruning isn’t hard at all, even though it seems very technical and overwhelming. All you have to do is follow the accurate method, step-by-step, and avoid damaging the branches and leaves. In this article, we will walk you through a fun and easy guide to tackle the job yourself.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Why is Pruning Important?

Before we jump into the process, let’s take a look at why pruning is essential. Regular pruning allows proper and robust growth that will enable trees to become tall and bear juicy fruits. It is crucial to prune your trees after a violent storm that has caused severe damage to the trees.

Pruning allows homeowners to cut off the haywire branches that might cause safety hazards while walking through the garden. Often, the lower stems get in the way of healthy fruit sprouting and growth. Regular pruning also allows for healthy fruit production and flowering.

It allows the growth of new leaves, branches, and fruits, and prevents diseases by enhancing the airflow. It can also improve the appearance of the trees, giving the garden an aesthetically pleasing appeal.

Pruning trees is often challenging for newbies. If you’re not handy with tools and usually end up injuring yourself, DIY may not work out. More importantly, if your trees are near power lines, call an expert and avoid cutting them yourself. It’s always advisable to hire landscaping experts who specialize in pruning. And if you are living in Canada, or in any city of Canada like Toronto, Calgary, or Regina, you can approach tree pruning in Calgary AB and enhance the charm of your garden. Experts have superior knowledge of the specific pruning requirements of fruit-bearing, flowering, and evergreen trees.

But if you seek to do the job yourself, our step-by-step guide will help you get it done in no time!

Step-by-Step Guide to Pruning

Gather your Tools

You will need sharp and superior quality, sturdy pruning tools to make clean and neat cuts. Blunt tools or dirty blades will only cause damage and promote diseases on open wounds. Make sure to clean and sharpen your tools before you start trimming.

You will need:

  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Trimmer
  • Pole saw (attachment for the trimmer)
  • Loppers

Trimming the Branches

Once you identify the limb you want to remove, be sure to locate the branch collar to make a clean cut. The branch collar can be easy to spot in some trees and difficult for others. Just look for a circle, a ridge with thicker bark.

Be sure to cut the exterior of the branch collar to allow a quick healing process for the wound. If the branch collar is damaged, it will not allow the formation of a good callus, which can eventually lead to rotting.

Make Downward Cuts

As you proceed towards cutting off branch collars and trimming the limbs, position your tool at a downward angle. It will prevent water from settling into the wound, and thereby, it will prevent rotting. Do not trim any upward growing branches as it can cause rotting as well. Pruning a limb too long is also ill-advised.

Remove all Dying or Hazardous Branches

Cut off all the dead, dying and unwanted branches, and the dangling limbs that are hazardous, damaged, or excessively brittle. Trim off the overlapping branches that rub together to promote healthy growth.

Also, cut off all the weedy-looking branches, and always chop them off from the base of the trunk. These unwanted and dying branches zap the energy of the tree and hinder healthy growth.

Shaping up the Tree

Once you’ve removed all the unwanted and weedy branches, you will have a clearer picture of the shape you want. You shape up the tree in any way you like and give it a pleasing appearance. It is also important to trim off the branches dangling or get in the direction of the arrangement.

Be sure to cut off branches and loose limbs dangling in the way of the fruits and flowers. Flowering trees are much easier to shape up as they have a delightful aesthetic charm.

When Should You Prune?

Now, this is a critical question because many tree species have specific pruning times and requirements. The right time for pruning is usually during dormancy, making winter the best time for this endeavor. 

Cutting off limbs during dormancy eliminates the risk of pest infestations and diseases in the open wounds. Be sure to prune your trees before spring arrives to allow robust new growth of flowers and fruits. In harsh and cold climates, such as in Calgary, it’s ideal to wait for the coldest months to pass.

Late winter and early spring are the ideal times for pruning for homeowners in Calgary. However, if you want to cut off damaged, rotten or hazardous branches, you don’t have to wait that long. Just be sure to avoid pruning on humid and rainy days.


As a newbie, it’s always best to start small and learn the trimming craft instead of going straight for the kill. Beginners usually end up overdoing it instead of focusing on precision, which can promote rotting and damages. It is crucial to remove each limb carefully and precisely and make clean cuts to avoid open wounds and infections.

Be sure to clean your tools now and then, and avoid using a dirty tool on an open wound. When it comes to cutting off large limbs, remember that your tree’s health is at stake. It is ideal to leave large branches aside, unless they are dead, heavily damaged, rotting or hazardous. If you don’t have an excellent reason to cut off a limb, don’t do it.

We sincerely hope our guide proves helpful and comprehensive for your tree-pruning adventure!

Kravelv is a full time digital marketer and part time furniture and cabinet maker. During his free time he would like to create something out of recycled woods, this varies from toys, furnitures plant boxes etc. Follow him on Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook