How to Prune Small Trees and Shrubs

Smart pruning when trees are small helps them grow to be strong and healthy.

During a hot Texas summer several years ago, I worked at a summer camp. My job description as a camp staff member was garbage truck driver, dish washer, concessions stand cashier, and among other things, resident tree trimmer.

My friend Melissa and I spent weeks that summer wielding our pole saws over our shoulders to prune all the trees on the camp’s acreage. We were two college girls in matching t-shirts with no prior tree-trimming experience. You know what? It’s not that hard.

When I look at houses to buy one of the first things that comes to mind before I do any mental decorating or interior renovating is what can I do to improve the landscape? I picture myself removing low tree limbs to raise the canopy so that it frames the house and pruning overgrown hedges that block the windows.

Pruning is one of those things you can do for free to give remarkable results to your landscape, instantly improving the house’s curb appeal. It’s better to do it sooner than later. I’m not climbing up any ladders with a chain saw; I leave that to a professional, but I can prune small trees and shrubs with my feet planted safely on the ground.