How to Prune a Money Tree Plant

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A money tree is a versatile plant native to Central and South America. The tree has several varieties of differing heights. Some money trees grow no larger than 5 feet high, while others can reach upwards of 60 feet. In the United States, the trees are usually grown indoors, because the winter temperatures are too harsh. The money tree is a swamp tree, and prefers moist soil at all times. The tree does not require much pruning, other than to remove dead branches and to give it general shaping.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Tree saw
  • Prune the trees in late summer, using pruning shears. This is the best time to identify any problem branches, and it allows the tree to grow back and recover before winter.

  • Prune any dead, dying or diseased branches first, using a tree saw. Diseased branches may have yellowed or brown leaves, or the leaves may have gray, brown, black or yellow spots. Outdoor money trees are the most susceptible to disease. Money trees may also have a case of bag worms, which create a silky bag-like nest in tree branches. Any branches with bag worms should be pruned near the trunk of the tree.

  • Prune away any sprouts near the base of the tree. This will occur more often in outdoor trees than indoor trees. Indoor trees do not bloom as frequently as outdoor money trees.

  • Shape the tree to your desired shape. The usual shape for a money tree is a large circle. Indoor trees often take a lollipop shape with a long trunk and bushy top. Bonsai trees can be formed to almost any shape.

  • Place the tree in a location that receives a lot of sunlight after pruning. This will help the tree recover much faster.

Tips & Warnings

  • Indoor money trees need little pruning, other than to keep them from growing larger than the room they are housed in. Some money trees are also grown as bonsai trees, which require more pruning than ordinary money trees.
  • Do not prune more than 1/3 of the branches at a time. Leave enough leaves to allow the tree to receive sunlight. If no leaves remain, the tree will die. If you wish to prune more than 1/3 of a tree, prune over a period of several years, pruning no more than 1/3 of the tree each year.

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