How to Prune A Tree

This is your lucky day. I am going to give you a 5 minute lesson that will change your life and the life of your trees. I am joined by my friend, Gary Overton, an arborist, who is helping me prune my very large plum tree while teaching us all to prune properly.

Gary explains that the main thing you want to do when pruning a tree is to eliminate the water spouts (some call them “suckers.” These small little sprouts can’t produce fruit. By removing them it allows the trees to deposit their nutrients in places where it will count.

You will see Gary using a sharp pruning scissor. Watch how he carefully identifies the suckers and removes them.  He’s also careful to trim back limbs that are touching branches. Branches that rub together can create an open wound on a branch which can attract insects. You don’t want that!

The most important thing to remember about this is that you don’t want to ever take more than 30% off a tree in one growing season. You can guesstimate this amount by standing back and looking at the tree’s fullness. Make sure you have not taken too much.

According to Gary, the first limb of the tree should be the largest so they can support the fruit. You don’t want the smaller limbs to be growing beneath the larger limbs.  When you are trimming a random branch you want to keep the future of the tree in mind and cut at an active growing point.


You will see how pruning my tree has improved its appearance and made it better able to thrive. Gary says pruning always gives you better fruit and better access to it.