In this writing; as much as I can, I will try do my best to explain how to prune a blue pine tree which is one of the most beautiful and valuable pines of our gardens. As for all our plants, the level of beauty and freshness of a pine tree seen at the beginning of planting changes as time passes by; it grows, developing its branches. After a period of time, due to airlessness, being undernourished and poorly groomed, some short branches etiolate and dry. If these are the cases, then it surely means that our pine tree is “calling for pruning”. In my words below, I would like to explain how and what to do upon encountering with such situations.

There are various types of pine tree species and each requires its own way of pruning accordingly. For instance, you can’t prune a Blue Atlas Cedar, a Blue Spruce or a Blue Abies as you do with a Thuja tree. Similarly, pruning of a Thuja is not like that of a Stone Pine or a Larch. All should be pruned considering their own species and conditions. Some people make atypical comments and say, “Pines should not be pruned, otherwise they would go to pot”. In response to them, I would like to give some information on pruning pine trees. By the way, of course, pine trees should not be pruned like any other fruit trees, but like the themselves in their own way…

Now, it is time talk about how to prune the pine trees in our gardens. Let’s start with our most beautiful pine trees of our garden – Blue Atlas Cedar, Blue Spruce or Blue Abies, respectively. The first one to be pruned, Blue Atlas Cedar takes the leading and irreplaceable place among all pine strains, dazzling us with its elegant looking and beauty seen both in summer and snowy winter months. We should behave very stingily while cutting a branch of such a valuable and beautiful pine tree; but, when needed and done by a very experienced operator, pruning surely maintains better air penetration and our tree becomes beautiful and relaxed as it gets off its heavy and undesired branches requiring to be pruned. Otherwise, even a little limb pruned by an unexperienced person would ruin  tree’s equilibrium, form and appearance. Even if an experienced person prunes a tree by cutting nearly fifty per cent of its branches, neither its form nor its appearance is destroyed…To test it, you can take before-and-after photos of your tree. Upon comparing the new condition with the old one, you will certainly see a big difference and ask: “Was it beautiful that much?” Being pruned and freed from unsightly, undesirable, oversized and offending branches, our Blue Pine tree relaxes and becomes beautiful. While looking at it, the future we are about to see freshens up and so do our souls. After these words, let’s get our pruning shears and handsaws, and get to work on our pine. But, somehow, we don’t know which branch we should prune. Now, let’s learn this.

The first thing we are going to do is to clean all dying, poor and dead branches of our pine tree whether they are great or small in size. Secondly, if there are broken, yellowed and dead branches left, we should get rid of them, as well. Following this, if there are overcrowded and overlapping branches which weigh down on each other, pine conifers will pile up on them, blocking the air penetration; therefore, we should cut these branches at the right points and maintain the right form in which the branches do not crowd each other and stand against heavy storms. Now, we can have a look at our tree and see if there are still oversized branches ruining its form and shape and then we prune them at their right points and try to maintain a correct tree size and strengthened shape. We should also clean dry pine cones, massing on the tree – of course, if there is any and if it is possible to do! Then, we stand in front of our tree and check again whether there is any obtrusive and unappealing matter or not…if there is nothing undesired, we can finish pruning our pine tree. The method by which we prune our Blue Atlas Cedar can similarly be applied to other Cedar pine trees including Deodar or Himalayan Cedar and Lebanon Cedar. Some pine species such as Blue Fir, Blue Spruce, Larch and Maritime Pine can also be pruned in the same way.

Looking forward to coming together again in my next writing about pruning techniques related to another species of pine trees.

Best Regards,

İbrahim Tınaztepe