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When to Prune White Pine?

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From: Deanna Lyman
Maryville, IL
I have several white pines in our neighborhood yard setting. These trees are about 30 feet high and I would like to prune the lower branches. When is the best time of year to prune branches of the white pine? Thank You

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Greetings Deanna!

Whether it is a hardwood (oak, hickory, maple) or a conifer (white pine, white fir, Douglas-fir), I strongly advocate pruning during the dormant season (late fall, winter). Pruning during the growing season (spring, summer) is simply an invitation to pests and pathogens that can potentially infect the tree's fresh wounds.

As a general rule of thumb: (1) maintain at least 2/3 of the tree's height in live crown, and (2) never remove more than 1/3 of the live crown during a pruning operation.

Thank you for your question!

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