Pruning Young Trees

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Proper pruning starting when trees are young is essential in developing a strong tree with desirable form. Start pruning a young tree after the first one or two growing seasons after it has adjusted to its landscape. Pruning young trees should focus on the 5 essential steps to structural pruning: (1) clean dead branches, (2) establish a central leader, (3) establish lowest permanent branches, (4) establish scaffold branches, and (5) establish temporary branches to help create stem taper (which will make the tree stronger. A tree that has been planted in an appropriate location and pruned starting at a young age will result in a healthier mature tree that is less expensive to maintain.