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Pruning conifer trees (fir, spruce, pine, etc), helps the overall health and develops a well-shaped tree. We will start pruning at the top of the tree. In the center of the tree at the top there is a branch going straight up, this is know as the dominate leader. If there are multiple leaders at the top you must train one to be the more dominate leader by staking it to the trunk of the tree. Once you have established your dominate leader remove any of the other multiple laterals or any abnormally long branches.
Pruning is done when the new growth is complete, but before the tender growth turns tough. Hedge shears and shearing knives are commonly used to prune these types of trees. You want to prune the trees in a conical shape. Prune off only the new growth unless a major correction is needed. Work down the tree keeping in mind the uniform shape of the tree. This is a general rule for pruning these trees, but keep in mind to treat every tree as an individual.
Pruning shrubs and other evergreens is typically done after the spring growth spurt. Hand pruners are the tool of choice, making select cuts to shape the plant. The best way to avoid problem pruning jobs is to select plants that will fit in the available space after the plants have matured. Prune to thin out a shrub involves the removal of entire branches at their junction with another branch or the trunk. This opens the plant to sunlight and air, encouraging growth from the center of the plant, while reducing the plants overall size. Most plants respond best to selective pruning. This is healthier for the plant and gives a more natural appearance. Pruning is vital for removing dead, dying, or diseased wood. Any dying branch or stub can be an entry point for insects or diseases that can be readily spread to other parts of the plant.