How to Prune Flowering Trees

What You'll Need
A sturdy ladder (if the tree is big enough)

If you have flowering trees, keeping them pruned is important to their upkeep. While leaving them untrimmed will not harm them, pruning your tree is a great way to keep it looking pretty and obtaining the maximum amount of flowers during the flowering season. This guide is intended to explain how and when to prune your flowering trees, and if you follow this guide your trees will produce stunning floral displays year after year.

Step 1- When to Prune

It is crucial to the well-being of your tree that it is trimmed and pruned on a semi-regular basis. Most trees only need pruning about once a year. It is important you prune your tree during its dormant season. The best time to prune is shortly after the flowers have fallen from the tree so you don’t cut seeding buds which you may not be able to see during the first weeks of their existence. This will also give your tree plenty of time to heal before the next flowering season gets under way. The only other time it’s good to trim is when you notice a dead or diseased branch. It’s important that you get these branches as soon as possible to stop the spread of disease and to allow the plant to use its energy on growing instead of healing.

Step 2- Pruning the Tree

Branches should be pruned at a slight angle, away from the tree, allowing the tree to grow upward. It’s important to the growth of your tree that you maintain at least 2/3 of the tree's total height. Cutting any more can stunt the growth of the tree--which will result in fewer flowers. In order to help prevent disease, it’s wise to prune branches that touch each other. This also helps thin out the tree and provide a better flow of sunlight. If you are pruning your tree to shape it, you will want to prune it when it is young and not so difficult as when the tree is much larger.


  • Use only clean tools. Using dirty sheers to prune your tree can promote disease.
  • Keep your tools sharp to make the job easier.
  • Plan the trim before you start to make sure you don’t trim too much or trim the wrong spots.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, trim a tree that is touching a utility line. Doing so can cause electrocution, fire and possibly death. If your tree is touching a utility line, call a professional to at least trim that part of the tree.
  • When pruning, consider whether or not your tree is getting enough sunlight. It’s important to trim in a way that allows optimal sunlight to reach the majority of the tree.