Pruning white pines

Asked March 11, 2018, 9:05 AM EDT

Will cutting the tops off my tall white pines damage the health of the trees? My neighbor wants them trimmed so they can’t fall on her house.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Topping trees is not a recommended practice. Wood rots are more likely to be a problem in topped trees. These trees want to grow about 80-100 feet tall and about half that in width. Trying to keep them smaller than they want to be is an unending job for you and a stressful, weakening experience for the tree.

They should be evaluated by several certified arborists for an onsite diagnosis, if they are a hazard, and the best way to proceed. They can let you know if their fall would threaten people or property. You can search for a certified arborist at

Here is a link on deciding When To Remove A Tree