The Q&A Archives: Prune And Shape White Pines

Question: How would I prune my 3 - 20' white pines that were planted about 5 feet apart. They are close to the house and to a flowering cherry. The branches are growing into each other. Can I prune in order to shape these trees and limit their hotizontal growth? Thank you!

Answer: Unfortunately, most true pines (Pinus) have a naturally large, wide and spreading size. You can try to tip prune the new growth in spring before it swells by breaking off the "candles" one by one. With trees that are so large, however, this may be a losing battle where replacement is on the horizon.

However, I would first strongly suggest that you consult with an arborist or a well-trained local nursery or your county extension to identify the trees. Since they are already so tall and yet have stayed as narrow as they have, I do not think they are true pines. If they are some other type of evergreen you may well be able to prune them to a size that is better. Pruning practices would depend on what they actually are, so I can't give you specifics.

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