Should I Trim Lower Branches on a Young Tree?

Pruning a young tree encourages healthy, stable growth as the tree matures. If you’ve wondered, “Should I trim lower branches on a young tree?”, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, Rocklin’s tree service experts at Ace Tree Service explain how to best care for your young trees with proper pruning techniques and essential safety practices. Help your tree grow into a beautiful, robust, mature tree with our guidance. 

When Should I Prune My Trees? 

Late winter, when the tree is dormant, is the preferred time of year for pruning. A cut of any size can damage your tree by opening wounds. These wounds make the tree susceptible to pests, disease, and fungi. 

When the tree sits dormant during the colder months, it receives minimal damage from a cut. Sap movement slows, and the tree has stored energy it can redirect. In full bloom, your tree should put all its energy into fruiting and growing leaves. 

When considering young trees, it’s not only the time of year that matters for pruning. The first year after planting, your tree must dedicate its energy towards root growth. Making cuts or pruning during this first year harms its root growth and can hamper your tree’s ability to absorb nutrients. 

After two to four growing seasons, your tree should receive pruning. At this point, the leaves have become bushier, and the tree has focused on creating a solid root system. 

Best Pruning Practices at Three to Four Years

You may still wonder, “Should I trim lower branches on a young tree?” The answer is yes!

Once the transplant has settled and the root system is secure around four years of age, you must prune your tree. When pruning, focus on the following elements: 

  • Eliminating suckers at the base of the tree
  • Removing excess sprouts in the crown 
  • Getting rid of broken branches
  • Thinning to remove competition 
  • Removing some lower branches 

Do not remove all lower branches at once, as tree branches do not move up as the tree grows. If a branch sprouts at six feet, it stays there throughout the tree’s life. Following this guideline, know which limbs you plan to remove and remove them over a few years. 

The goal is to create an appropriate shape and remove any lower branches that may cause harm or get in the way. However, these lower branches help build and strengthen the tree trunk at this stage. Leaving lower limbs temporarily ensures the tree continues growing healthily and safely. 

Removing the Lower Limbs

You can prune the tree’s lower limbs when it’s at five to seven years of age. Once the tree reaches this age, whatever limbs you leave alone become permanent. Ensuring a slow removal over a few years helps the tree with the following: 

  • Strength and correct shape 
  • Health and security against storms 
  • Attraction levels toward pollinators

To prune a tree correctly, you must cut after the branch collar. Remove all lateral branches and maintain the ideal shape depending on the type of tree.

Contact Our Team 

Our professionals have years of training and can perform even the most challenging cuts. As the tree grows, it becomes unsafe to prune without proper training and tools. For best results, leave pruning to the professionals and learn why DIY tree trimming is not advisable

With our team, you’ll never again wonder, “Should I trim lower branches on a young tree?” If you need help pruning your trees for optimal results, contact Ace Tree Service by calling (916) 934-3204 and requesting a free estimate in Rocklin, CA.