Proper pruning is essential for tree care, but it can be difficult to get right. Poor pruning can lead to damage and even death for your trees. To help you avoid these mistakes, we’ve put together a list of the five most common mistakes people make when pruning their trees. From using the wrong tools to cutting too much or in the wrong places, understanding what not to do will ensure your trees stay healthy and beautiful for years.

So read on and learn how you can keep your trees safe from poor pruning practices!

1. Don’t Prune in the Wrong Season

One of the biggest mistakes people make when pruning their trees is doing so at the wrong time of year. Pruning during the wrong season can lead to stunted growth or even death for your trees. It’s important to understand that different trees have different growth patterns and will require pruning at different times. 

It’s also important to take into consideration the stage of dormancy, as pruning too early or too late can disrupt the tree’s growth cycle. By waiting until the right stage of dormancy and pruning at the right time, you can ensure the health and longevity of your trees.

2. Don’t Cut Too Much

Cutting off too much foliage can expose the branches and trunk to direct sunlight, causing sunscald and bark damage. Moreover, pruning too much can also reduce the tree’s ability to produce energy through photosynthesis, weakening the tree, and making it more susceptible to disease and insect infestation. To avoid over-pruning, it’s important to have a clear objective before you start cutting. Identify the dead or diseased branches and remove them first, then move on to shaping the tree.

Remember, pruning should never remove over 25% of the tree’s foliage in a single season. If you’re unsure about what needs to be pruned, seek the advice of an arborist or a certified tree care professional. Proper pruning will help maintain the integrity of the tree’s structure while improving its overall health and appearance. By removing only what is necessary, you can avoid over-pruning and ensure your tree’s vitality for years to come.

3. Don’t Cut Too Close to the Ground

Removing too many leaves and branches can weaken the tree’s ability to produce energy and make it more susceptible to disease and insect infestations. Additionally, when trees are pruned too close to the ground, it can result in vigorous regrowth of shoots from the base of the tree, weakening the overall structure and reducing the lifespan of the tree

It’s important to remember that leaves are crucial for the tree’s survival, as they utilize sunlight to create energy and produce oxygen through photosynthesis. Therefore, when pruning, it’s essential to leave enough foliage intact to ensure healthy growth and the longevity of your trees. Aim to remove only what’s necessary to maintain the tree’s structure while preserving its ability to perform vital functions like photosynthesis. By avoiding cutting too close to the ground, you can help prevent unnecessary stress and damage to your trees.

4. Don’t Use Sharp Shears or Pruners

In addition to avoiding over-pruning, it’s also essential to use the right tools when pruning your trees. Using sharp shears or pruners may seem like the obvious choice, but in reality, they can cause more harm than good. Sharp tools can cut into the bark too easily, causing damage and tears that can lead to infection and disease. On the other hand, dull tools can also be problematic, as they require more force to cut, resulting in a rougher cut that can make it harder for the tree to heal properly.

The best option is to use clean, sharp pruning equipment appropriate for the size and type of tree you are pruning. This helps ensure that you make a clean cut and reduces the amount of stress on the tree, allowing it to heal faster and more effectively. By using the right tools for the job, you can help keep your trees healthy and looking their best year after year.

5. Don’t Disregard Branch Collar Growth

When pruning your trees, it’s essential not to disregard branch collar growth. The branch collar is the swollen area of the trunk where a branch meets the trunk. It’s where new growth stems from, and it’s crucial for the healing and growth of the tree. Disregarding the branch collar can lead to improper healing, making the tree vulnerable to disease and pests. When pruning a branch, it’s essential to cut it off at the base of the branch collar, leaving the collar intact.

If there are any dead branch parts, they should be removed from the collar, as they can impede the branch’s ability to heal properly. By leaving the collar intact, you’re encouraging fresh growth and allowing the tree to heal more effectively, which contributes to its overall health and longevity. Additionally, cutting the branch at the collar will create a natural seal that prevents pests and diseases from entering the tree. By keeping the branch collar intact, you can ensure the health and beauty of your trees for many years to come.

About Marshall Tree Services and Landscaping

Let experts at Marshall’s Tree Services and Landscaping take care of your trees and convert your home into a beautiful work of art. We provide pruning, installation, landscaping, pest control, and tree removal services in the Plantation, East Fort Lauderdale, and Davie regions. To schedule a free review or learn more about our tree and landscape design in Broward County, call us at (754) 235-1926 or (786) 738-4886. You can also reach us at or fill out our contact form to hear back from us.