How to Prune Pine Bushes

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Like pine trees, pine bushes are evergreen plants that keep their foliage all year long. Pine bushes require occasional pruning, like any other shrub on your property. Pruning keeps pine bushes healthy and trains them as they grow. One advantage of pine bushes over many other types of shrub is that, due to the dense foliage, you can prune pine bushes into shapes.

Things You'll Need

  • Hedge clippers
  • Prune pine bushes at the end of the dormant season before new growth forms in the early spring. Growth begins at different times depending on the region, but prune in late February or March in most areas of the U.S.

  • Cut any dead branches all the way back to the central branch. Only remove branches on which the needles appear brown for several months.

  • Trim pine bush branches back a few inches every year to keep the plant the proper size for its space in your landscape. When trimming down pine branches, do not cut any farther back on the branch than the last needles. Cutting into the needle-less wood at the base of pine branches may prevent the branch from producing new growth.

  • Show creativity with your pine bushes. Trim the pine bush into a ball or a cone shape to create topiary for your yard. You can shape pine bushes in any form that you want, adding a decorative element to your landscape. As long as you don't trim branches back beyond the foliage, the pine bush can recover from drastic pruning.

Tips & Warnings

  • If a young pine bush develops with a gap between the main part of the bush and the top part, cut it back to the main part of the bush, just above a bud, to return the bush to a compact shape.
  • Though you need to trim pine bushes if you want to keep them in form, pine bushes do not require much pruning for health. If you don't see any problem areas on a pine bush, you might choose to allow the bush to grow freely. When left to grow unchecked, the pine bush forms branches of different lengths, giving the bush an unruly appearance.

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