Garden-fresh offers are one step away
Sign Up & Get $5 Off

Opt-in to mobile texts to receive money-saving, project-inspiring alerts. Redeemed in stores only.

Just For You

Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


To Prune, or Not to Prune …

Home Depot
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: Varies


Pruning branches.

While advice from neighbors, friends and family is appreciated, sometimes you may get conflicting, outdated or inaccurate information about pruning.

When it comes to pruning trees, some myths may actually do more harm than good.

Let’s debunk the most common tree pruning myths to keep your trees growing strong and healthy

Top 5 Tree Pruning Myths:

  1. Topping trees makes them bloom better. Topping a tree means to remove the top growth of the tree to a uniform height. Topping does not encourage better blooming, but in fact ruins the form of the tree, creating weak growth prone to wind and storm damage.
  2. Never prune in summer. Summer pruning is actually advised to remove water sprouts and suckers as they are beginning to grow near the base or trunk of the tree.
  3. Wound dressings help the tree heal after pruning. Trees produce their own protective barrier, so it’s not necessary to cover the wound with paint or tar. These materials can seal in moisture, which leads to rot. One exception is if oak wilt is a concern – wound dressings will help prevent the bark beetle from spreading the disease through the pruned surface.
  4. Trees will die if over-pruned or pruned at the wrong time of year. While there are better times of the year to prune, and you can damage your tree if you over-prune, it’s not likely that your tree will die as a result.
  5. All you need is a chainsaw to prune a tree. Use the correct tool for the job, whether it’s a chainsaw for large cuts, a pole saw for out of reach cuts, pruning loppers for smaller branches, or pruning snips for delicate cuts. But always be careful and never cut when holding a chainsaw above your head.

Product Checklist:

Got questions about this article or any other garden topic? Go here now to post your gardening ideas, questions, kudos or complaints. We have gardening experts standing by to help you!