White pine trees triming

Asked February 15, 2017, 7:09 AM EST

I have limbs at ground level..Is it safe for the tree to trim some limbs away to make it easier to mow around..If so how and when should this be done..These trees I believe they are White Pine..They are probable 25-35 ft tall and probably 20' across the bottom with lowest branchs laying on the ground.. these trees are probably 15 years old. thank you

Wicomico County Maryland

1 Response

You can certainly prune off the lower branches of a white pine. Usually tree pruning is done when they are dormant (winter-early spring.) March is a great month to prune. Here is our website's fact sheet on pruning: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG84_Pruni... You can also search 'pruning' on our website's search box. Study the pruning techniques. Don't leave stubs.

Mowing strategy under a white pine, and some other needled evergreen trees, can take into consideration that the trees tend to self-mulch with their own needles. White pines (and other needled evergreens) drop a portion of their older needles each year in the fall. Usually this is not very obvious, but over time it builds up a nice bed of needles under the tree that mulches the tree where nothing much else can grow anyway. No grass will grow close to the trunk, so you won't be mowing there. (Too shady and dry for other plants to grow.)
Instead of removing those lower branches all the way to the trunk, you might consider pruning them back to where the grass thins and the pine needle mulch gets thick. Pine needles are sold as mulch. They look and smell nice. And yours are free.