The Q&A Archives: How To Prune Birch Trees

Question: I have a white birch approx. 15" tall. It has four branches. Two go straight up which I would like to keep. The other two go out, one to each side and are unsightly. Can I cut those two off at the base without killing the tree? If so, when is the best time of year?

Answer: It is not recommended to prune birches if it can be avoided, since this leaves wounds that are an open invitation to pests such as borers. However, if you are determined to prune, then do it in June after the spring sap has stopped running. Current pruning practices no longer use a wound paint, just make a clean cut.

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