Pine trees can add a great amount of beauty to your yard, as long as you know how to care for them. You need to know when your pine trees need trimming and when trimming can cause damage to them. Here are four rules for trimming your trees.
Do Not Trim Off The Top
If your pine tree has grown to a large height and you decide it is too large for the space it is growing, do not cut off the entire top part of the tree. Topping your tree is not good for it whether you cut off two feet or eight feet from its top. Cutting the top of your tree removes the most reproductive section of the tree. Much of the new growth and pine cone production happens at the crown of the pine tree.
Additionally, when you cut off the pine tree's crown, you are also removing part of the upper main stem and leaving it open for insects, disease, and internal decay. Then, as your pine tree begins new growth in the top part to replace its lost needles, it grows unevenly and often becomes ugly. In other cases, pine trees that have had their tops cut off will become starved of nutrients and sickly, and usually die. Their needles are as important as the leaves on a tree for creating photosynthesis for the tree's nutrients.
Do Not Trim Lower Branches
Unless the lower branches on your pine tree are dead, you shouldn't trim them off. Many homeowners trim the bottom branches of their pines trees in their yard so they can more easily do yard work under their tree. However, the lower branches of a pine tree act as a stabilizer to the branches above them. By removing the bottom branches of your pine tree, you are removing the support to the upper branches, which could cause your pine tree's branches to collapse and break.
Trimming the lower branches on your pine tree is especially dangerous if you live in an area that has heavy snowfall in the winter. The extra weight the snow applies to your pine tree's branches can increase the branches' chances of collapsing down.
Only Trim Off Dead Branches
If any of your pine tree's branches are dead, it is best for you to trim and remove them. Dead branches on a pine tree gives insects and other pests a place to live and burrow. Dead branches can also provide a place for diseases to form and promote the spreading of disease to other trees.
But you must take care when you decide to cut off a pine tree's dead-looking branches. Sometimes pine trees can appear brown as though they are dead or dying when they only have a disease. Check the tree by scraping into a dead branch with a knife. You will be able to see if the wood underneath is dry. If the interior of the branch is moist, the tree is not dead and may only have a disease.
There are several pine tree fungal diseases which give some of your pine tree's branches a brown and dead appearance. Pine trees can be treated for fungal diseases when you catch the disease before it takes over the tree. A tree service company can treat your pine tree with a fungicide spray to get rid of the fungus.
Cut Down Entire Diseased Trees
If your pine tree has pine wilt disease, there is no way to treat for this beetle and larvae-caused disease. Pine wilt can take over and kill a pine tree within weeks. The tree will need to be cut down to protect nearby pine trees from also becoming infested with the beetles and larvae.
If you find your pine tree's needles have begun to look wilted and brown, notify a tree service to determine if it has tree wilt.
Use these four rules when determining if your pine tree needs to be trimmed or not.