How to trim a Pine Tree that is too tall? - Pine Tree Trimming & Pruning

Pine Trees  

Pines are among the most commercially important tree species valued for their timber and wood pulp throughout the world. In temperate and tropical regions, they are fast-growing softwoods that will grow in relatively dense stands.  

Pine trees are a timeless landscaping option that looks great just about anywhere. In certain landscapes, they create an almost mystical and cozy vibe. Their needles also give off a unique and pleasant aroma. 

Since pine trees are evergreen, they will provide lush, vibrant green colors to your landscape all year long. Pines are evergreen, coniferous resinous trees (or, rarely, shrubs) growing 3–80 m (10–260 ft) tall, with the majority of species reaching 15–45 m (50–150 ft) tall. Just about their heights, they are a little difficult to trim.  

Trim the Candles 

Unlike other evergreens, pines have a specific time of the year to be trimmed to improve their shape and make them more compact. In the northeastern US, this is typically the month of June – when the new growth is known as “candles” is elongated – with one-half to two-thirds of each candle being removed. Trimming pines during this growth phase allows time for the pruned candles to form new buds at the end of each branch tip.  

Tall Pine Tree Trimming Facts

When trimming a tall pine, never cut off the tree’s pointed top or “crown.” Cutting off the tree’s top will either result in tree death or deformed and weak growth. A pine that is too tall and imposes a risk to property or power lines should be obliterated. Replace tall pines with dwarf pine varieties or other evergreens that won’t reach such immense heights. 

Why do you have to trim a tall pine tree?  

 If you have trees, you know how important it is to keep them healthy and looking great, and pine is no exception. The proper pruning techniques will help remove unwanted growth while encouraging new growth for the proper pine tree structure.  

When to trim/prune?   

The best time of year to trim/prune your pine trees depends on the type of tree and the results you’re looking for in general. Pruning during the dormant season is typically best, particularly at the end of fall and early spring. It allows time to heal and commonly results in new growth during spring. Pruning during the winter season will slow the tree’s growth by reducing the leaf surface. If you’d like to enhance flowering, then prune in the spring after the flowers have faded and the leaves are fully formed. For the summer blooming trees, prune in the winter or early spring. However, should cut dead, broken, or diseased limbs of a tree immediately. Trimming makes your tree look more appealing, wherein pruning is an act of removing dead or diseased branches for better growth.  

Tools for Pruning a Large Tree: –   

  • Pruning saw
  • Pole saws
  • Chainsaw
  • Snap-cut pruner

How to use the pruning tools?   

  • A pruning saw and a pole saw to get the job done on larger branches. Electric and gas-powered pole saws are available to make cutting even more straightforward.
  • Make sure all your saw blades are sharp for the best results.
  • You’ll need ladder gloves and, of course, safety glasses, and if you’re working under large limbs, you’re going to want to wear a hard hat. Safety is critical in working with trees.
  • Before you get started, look for hanging limbs and power lines. Call a professional if your tree is near power lines. Never operate a chainsaw while standing on a ladder, and don’t stand on or above the wrong note on the safety label.

How to trim pine trees?   

Not only pine, but all the trees also need trimming to grow effectively and add extra value to your property. Hanging limbs of the tree can cause damage or injury if they fall, so removing them is the priority. Look closely for damaged or diseased branches and remove them. The tree needs to allocate energy towards new growth and healthy branches thoroughly.  

Check your tree for the following problems that will require the help of an arborist. 

 Look for decayed or hollowed-out wood and check around the tree trunk for peeling bark. So, inspect the roots; if you see raised soil or bare roots, it can indicate an unstable root system and tree. The mulch that is mounted too high can cause decay around the root flare and promote girdling roots.  


When roots wrap around and squeeze the main trunk, please step back and get a big picture view of your tree, then decide how you want it to grow. 

Find the strong leader branches that give the tree its structure, determine the weak branches, and then remove them. The size of the tree determines how many limbs you can remove. You shouldn’t remove more than 25% of a small young tree and no more than 10% of a large older tree. 

Interior pruning: Maintain Your Trees Healthy!   

  • Find any branches that are downward pointing and branches crossing one another; these will often cause damage as they rub together, wearing or rubbing a weak spot and over time breaking. Another common issue is when two branches form a V crotch, you’ll want to remove one side to prevent the branches from becoming weak. When these branches grow, they’re essentially competing or growing against each other, weakening the tree. While pruning, cut a slight angle about a quarter-inch beyond the bud or limb.
  • Three-point cut – If you have a large limb, use a handsaw or pole saw to start your cuts away from the trunk, removing small sections at a time. If you get a branch that’s over an inch in diameter, you need to make a three-point cut to avoid tearing the bark. These three cut branches are made to prevent the bark’s tearing and damage the tree as the branch comes off.
  • First, cut a quarter way through the underside of the limb a few inches away from the trunk. Second, farther along the branch. The limb’s weight will cause it to break between the two cuts. Finally, the third cut will be just outside the branch bark or near the branch collar. The bottom is called the branch collar and flared base of the branch. Then cut downward and outward close to perpendicular to the limb.
  • Make a final cut as close to the tree as possible without damaging the collar on the side of caution and leaving it a little longer. Check with an arborist to see if a sealer is necessary. As the tree ages, it will close over the cut.
  • Another aspect of tree maintenance is to remove water sprouts and suckers. Water sprouts are small vertical limbs growing from dominant branches. Leaving some sprouts is okay because you don’t want to leave only a few leaves at the end. Suckers are small trees growing from the trunk base, and both take nutrients from the tree.
  • Use scissor cut shears to remove them. Focus on pruning that encourages new growth in the directions you desire, and for more flowers or fruit, it’s essential to understand how the tree grows.
  • Pruning your trees will ensure their health for years to come.

Does cutting the top of a pine tree kill it?  

  • Cutting the top from a pine won’t immediately kill the tree, but a large pruning wound could leave the tree open to potentially deadly infections. Canopies of pine trees and many other evergreens grow outward from the needle-bearing tips of branches. Cutting back a branch to the bare wood inside the green canopy kills the branch. Cutting out a pine’s top stops vertical growth unless new leaders’ form.
  • Pine trees with top damage could survive if most of the canopy escaped injury. Cutting back the damage to just above healthy limbs could save the tree. If the first possible clean-cut removes most of the crown and leaves large limbs exposed, the pine cannot recover its natural shape. Direct sunlight shines into the tree’s center. The bark could sunburn and split, exposing the tree to more damage from disease and insects. If the damage only involves the very top
  • Small branches on either side of the broken leader could sprout new vertical shoots. Left for a few years, the multiple leaders gain height but develop branches only on their sunny sides and compete for light and space. If not trimmed out, the crowded leaders could fail under a load of heavy snow or ice. Cutting out all but one maturing leader leaves a top with unbalanced foliage. Early pruning prevents this unsightly growth. When new leaders reach only a few inches in height,
  • If the damage extends too far down the tree to allow natural leader replacement, bending a small branch upwards forces a replacement for the tree’s top. Limbs of an inch or less in diameter bend easily. An upright wooden brace fixed to the trunk side provides a vertical guide for lashing the new leader in place. The scar on the old top forms a weak point at the base of the new leader.  

“When the top of a pine tree suffers significant damage, the best solution involves removing the tree and planting a replacement. Topping pine trees growing too close to power lines creates oddly shaped trees with bushy upper growth. Selecting a planting site that allows room for maximum growth without trimming gives pine trees the best chance for long life. In a good location, pine trees need little trimming. As the tree matures, lower limbs die back and require removal. Cutting out broken or diseased limbs improves the health and appearance of the tree, but pines develop a beautiful symmetrical form without pruning.”

How do you preserve your pine trees? 


For healthy pine trees, it’s essential to water them often. We are very good at watering our trees during the spring, summer, and fall. Still, we often forget to water them adequately in the wintertime or when it’s exceptionally hot or windy during the summer.  

Tip to ensure that you apply the proper amount of water to your pine tree 

“Use a five-gallon bucket.” 

Drill a tiny pinhole in the bottom of your bucket and place the bucket next to your pine tree. If you fill the bucket up two times, you’ll apply 10 gallons of water to the tree, which is about the amount of water the tree needs for one week’s use.  

If it’s exceptionally hot or scorched, fill the buckets up twice per week, or you could put your hose on a small trickle and let it run next to the tree for about 10 to 15 minutes. 

On small trees that are newly established, it’s essential to do this for at least the first three years of the tree’s life to get it adequately rooted into the ground. It’s essential in Stockton and all-around California to keep your trees watered to reduce the stress load on them.  

Keeping them watered is one of the best things you can do to help prevent other stresses from taking over, such as insects and disease. Frequently trees in Stockton, Manteca, or Lodi are in irrigated yards or Gardens where they receive proper water during the spring, summer, and fall but pine trees don’t lose their needles. Other types of trees in the wintertime. So, they will need regular watering in the winter as well. It would be best if you watered these trees anytime the temperature is above about 50 degrees during winter. Proper watering throughout the winter, spring, and summer will help improve the life and vigor of your tree. 

The importance of pine trees  

Pine trees are evergreen cone-bearing plants native to most of North America and belong to the family’s genus penis family. Pine trees are related to the first spruces hemlocks, cypresses, and rain woods. For centuries they have held economic, aesthetic, and ecological importance. Not only do pine trees provide essential products, but they also beautify our homes and wilderness spaces.    

 Economic importance – there are about 100 species of pine trees, and all our woody plants are important economically and primarily because their wood is used for timber. This timber is used in construction, furniture, paneling, and flooring. Vines are also used to manufacture substances such as turpentine, rosin pulp, and paper scientific importance. One type of pine tree, the Bristlecone pine or penis air Astana has an extremely long-life span making it useful for a scientific study. Its tree rings provide clues to scientists regarding the climate of bygone eras. This pine grows in the mountainous regions of California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. It grows slowly and can live for several thousand years.  

Ecological importance – pine trees provide forestation in areas where deciduous trees cannot grow due to the extreme elevation and latitude of the Siberian dwarf pine mountain. Pine and Bristlecone pines are examples of pines that grow in environments hostile to other types of trees. They provide habitat and a food source for wildlife in these areas and purify the air. 

Food source: Pine trees provide food for animals and humans. Their seeds are eaten by squirrels and birds, which distribute the seeds to new areas butterflies and moths feed on pine needles. Humans use pine nuts for cooking and baking sprinkled on salads, and as an ingredient in pesto pasta sauce, pine nuts have been consumed by humans since ancient Greek and Roman times. 

Aesthetic uses: Pine trees have always had great aesthetic value. They are used in home landscapes and parks, and other public areas and are grown commercially as Christmas trees. Its boughs are used as decoration in the wintertime. Pine cones are used as decorations and also in crafts. Some gardeners used pine needles as a mulch in their gardens, especially for acid lighting flowers such as roses.    

What is the lifespan of pine trees?  

Often have very long lifespans sublet for more than 3,000 years. Many types of pine trees exist throughout the world, and while most of them have similar lifespans, some live significantly longer than others pine trees. More than 100 species of pine trees exist, constituting about one-third of all evergreen trees globally. They grow throughout the northern hemisphere from parts of Mexico to the Arctic Circle reproduction. The reproductive structures of pine trees are housing the cones that grow in a tree foraging animals, and winds spread pine seeds throughout the environment, where they germinate when certain environmental conditions are met.  

Lifespan: Most pine trees, such as Virginia Pines, white pines, shortleaf pine, and Table Mountain Pines, have life spans of 100 to 200. Some species, such as the Bristlecone pine, can live for thousands of years. 

Pine Tree that is too tall
Pine Tree Trimming & Pruning
Get a Free Quote
How to trim a Pine Tree that is too tall? - Pine Tree Trimming & Pruning