A conifer is an evergreen tree or shrub which includes species like cypress and juniper. Just like any other plant, a conifer does require occasional pruning in order to remove any dead branches, as well as to maintain control over how large they grow. However, it is important to note that the techniques and pruning times for a conifer are much more specific than for some other plants. If a conifer is not properly pruned, it can result in bare spots that may never again fill back up with needles. Also, keep in mind that you do not need to prune a conifer annually. Even when you do prune it, it is best to prune your conifer no more than you have to.

What You Will Need

  • Loppers
  • Hand Pruners

Step 1. Do not prune a conifer until early spring or late winter (it should be prior to the start of any new growth).

Step 2. Check to see if there are any yellow or brown branches on your conifer or any absence of foliage. This can indicate areas that have died. Work backward along these branches to the tree's main trunk or the scrub's base near the ground. Use your hand pruners or loppers to cut off any dead limbs.

Step 3. Holding back the plant's foliage, look to see if there are any branches on the inside area of the shrub or tree that are rubbing against other branches. Use your loppers to prune off all of these rubbing branches, either near the ground or the trunk's base. By doing this, you will help to prevent any injury to your conifer from disease.

Step 4. Finally, it's important to trim the conifer's outer shape. Do this by pruning (from the plant's tips) about 1-2 inches with your hand pruners. Remember to never prune the branches back too far. If you prune back to an area without needles, then these branches will remain bare and will never produce needles again. If you would like your conifer to stay fairly small (as when you're growing the plant inside a container), it's a good idea to prune it during late spring. By doing this, you will stunt the conifer's growth. Also, remember that you can prune a conifer to remove dead limbs at any point during the year and it will not harm its growth. Just don't ever cut your conifer shrub entirely to the ground, since it won't grow back.  

For more information, contact a local tree service company, like Shadywood Tree Experts & Landscaping Inc.