How to Prune a Honey Locust Tree

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The honey locust is an attractive, fast-growing tree that can reach heights of up to 70 feet. It develops very small, delicate leaves in late spring, adding a soft touch to the landscape. The honey locust tree requires regular pruning to control its size and to maintain an attractive shape. This tree oozes large amounts of sap after pruning, so it's best to do all major trimming in late spring, summer or fall to reduce the amount of sap that is lost.


Step 1

Begin pruning the tree during the first year after planting. Leave the top, most upright branch in place and clip off all others that compete for this position.

Step 2

Leave the lower branches in place on young trees to produce nutrients and provide shade. These branches may be removed if they become too long or start to interfere with other plants or yard traffic.

Step 3

Thin the branches as the tree grows to allow better air circulation, which will reduce the chance of fungal disease.


Step 4

Remove any branches that develop on the main trunk that have less than a 45 degree angle, as they tend to be weak and break easily.

Step 5

Prune off any lateral branches that extend outside the canopy. Examine the tree for branches that cross over one another and remove the smallest of the two.


Remove very large branches in three parts.


Remove dead, damaged or diseased branches from the honey locust tree as you notice them. Do not prune diseased branches when they are wet, as this could cause the disease to spread. Do not remove more than one-third of the honey locust tree's branches at one time.