Pruning a white pine

Asked May 22, 2020, 9:50 AM EDT

This white pine got away from me and now it is mis-shaped. The bottom branches are short and top branches are wide with a nice gap between branch sections. Can pruning help at this point to gain a better shape? If so, what time of year should it be done and any tips on which sections to cut?

Kent County Michigan

1 Response

The pine actually looks completely normal. White pine does not follow a strict conical form as do spruce etc. However, pruning can be done two ways. To reduce overall growth of trees, you can pinch the new growth (candles) by 1/2 in a few weeks. This will limit the total amount of growth this season, and can be done every year. Be careful not to remove the entire candle. Also, remember that eventually the tree is going to get too big for you to do the top so it will be the Same as you have now- pruned and unpruned. For a wayward branch or two that is sticking out too far, you can simply cut the leader back to a branch crotch which will redirect plant growth to the side shoots. For general shaping, this may be the better option for you.