The truth is that there are quite a few pruning steps that you’d have to undertake in order to properly maintain your tree while it’s growing up. The age of the tree is also determining in this particular process. Furthermore, you would have to perform different tree trimming and pruning techniques based on the stage of development of the tree.

Pruning the tree after you’ve planted it

  • You have to make sure to leave as much of the leaf surface as it’s possible in order to enable the tree to produce enough food and to build a large underground system of roots.
  • You have to prune any broken branches or limbs which are competing with the leader, get rid of tree tags or branches which are actually swollen from eggs or stings of insects.
  • Make sure to trim it as close to its trunk as you can.

Pruning during the 3rd and the 4th year

  • Your tree should have already developed quite well if you managed to take care of the pruning properly before that. You have to remove the root suckers as well as the sprouts within the crown of the tree.
  • All excessive limbs and branches should also be pruned in order to thin the crown and enable it to grow properly. This way you are going to prevent unwanted competition amongst the smaller branches for nutrients, light and water.
  • Get the branches which are narrow-angled removed.
  • Get the stem which is co-dominant removed.
  • Cut all of the branches which aren’t effectively growing in the right direction.
  • Cut the lowest branches which are unlikely to be productive but make sure to keep those which are going to help the trunk develop.

Pruning 5 to 7 years after the planting

  • Throughout this period you are going to have to trim and prune off all of the lower limbs. This is also advisable if you have to get the branches and limbs out of your neighbor’s house and if you want to remove the limbs which aren’t or won’t be productive. The lower limbs are not going to be permanent and they wouldn’t grow in time so take care of them precisely.
  • Cut of a few high branches if the crown has become too dense. This way you ensure that the limbs don’t become overly heavy and break off.
Pruning 15 years after the planting


  • If you’ve managed to keep your tree alive for that long then you are most certainly doing a great job. You can inspect the tree for dead or for damaged limbs and get it removed to help the tree resist heavy storms. You should do this during spring season.
  • You’d better call an arborist for any further pruning and trimming procedures. Most of the tree care companies in San Jose offer annual maintenance of the trees to ensure that they are well-maintained and healthy.