Answer: Actually, it is best to leave trees alone for 2 years after planting. The lower branches are helping the trunk develop girth and stability. As a general guideline in the low desert, prune non-native deciduous trees during winter dormancy in January. Begin by pruning out any dead, dying, broken or crossing branches. Then carefully select what other branches you feel need to be removed to shape the plant. Note that most of us prune far more than we should. Trees will actually assume a fairly good shape on their own. (Nobody is pruning trees for Mother Nature!) Don't cut away more than 25 percent of the tree in any year or you will reduce its ability to photosynthesize and make food for itself.
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