The Dos and Don’ts of Pruning

Tips for Proper Tree and Shrub Maintenance

Tree and shrub pruning is a crucial aspect of plant maintenance that involves selectively removing branches to enhance the health, appearance, and structure of trees and shrubs. Proper pruning can promote healthy growth, improve air circulation, and prevent disease. It also helps maintain the natural shape of the plant and can encourage better flowering and fruit production. However, incorrect pruning can lead to damage, disease, or a weakened plant structure. Understanding the timing, techniques, and specific needs of different tree and shrub species is essential for successful pruning. By following best practices and considering the unique characteristics of each plant, one can ensure that pruning contributes to the overall health and beauty of trees and shrubs in the landscape.


  1. Do prune at the right time: Prune trees and shrubs during their dormant season to minimize stress and promote healthy regrowth.
  2. Do use sharp, clean tools: Use sharp and sanitized pruning tools to make clean cuts and prevent the spread of diseases.
  3. Do prune selectively: Remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches, as well as those that are crossing or rubbing against each other.
  4. Do consider the natural shape: Prune to enhance the natural form of the tree or shrub, maintaining its aesthetic appeal and structural integrity.
  5. Do research specific species: Different trees and shrubs have unique pruning needs, so research the specific requirements of the plant you are pruning.


  1. Don’t prune too much: Avoid excessive pruning, as it can stress the plant and lead to weak regrowth.
  2. Don’t prune during the active growing season: Pruning during the growing season can disrupt the plant’s growth and flowering.
  3. Don’t leave stubs: Make clean cuts close to the branch collar to promote proper healing and prevent decay.
  4. Don’t ignore safety precautions: Always use proper safety gear, especially when pruning larger branches or working at heights.
  5. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help: If you are unsure about pruning techniques or dealing with large trees, consider hiring a professional arborist for assistance.

Following these dos and don’ts of pruning will help ensure proper tree and shrub maintenance, promoting their health, appearance, and longevity. But be aware that sometimes these general rules don’t apply, sometimes we prune during the growing seasons to minimise risk of disease (cherry’s) and sometimes we prune hard as the plants respond really well (Cornus, Dogwood that get coppiced yearly) so the most important tip, always do your research.