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When should ornamental trees be pruned?

How do you prune ornamental plants?

How do you prune a small ornamental tree?

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As part of the art and science of horticulture, we help to maintain plant health, improve flowers and fruit quality, and take the hassle out of routine practices. Pruning can help your trees and shrubs thrive for many years to come.


TreeMedics LLC offers the best ornamental pruning service available.

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Pruning is a challenging process. In addition to understanding how plants grow, knowing which tools to use, and being fully aware of the necessity and benefits of pruning, we take pride in our ornamental pruning work. The pruning methods used for ornamental trees are somewhat similar to those for shrubs and full-sized trees, as both share some characteristics.

Contact TreeMedics Tree Service today to discover why we are Portland, Oregon's preferred tree service company. Pruning an ornamental tree doesn't create a beautiful tree, it reveals it. If pruned correctly, ornamental trees such as Japanese Maple, Flowering Cherry, Dogwood, Snowbell, and Magnolias reveal their natural beauty. Even though the process is basically the same for many tree types, ornamental trees offer a more satisfying experience. 

Generally, trees of all sizes, including small ornamentals and full-sized trees, require less pruning than shrubs.  Generally, ornamental trees are grown for their attractive appearance.  Over pruning can ruin or distort that form.  Except if you are pruning a shrub to a tree form or pruning a specific shape to a tree top or a grafted tree (which would be a shrub in its natural form, grafted to a tree trunk).  A "unnatural" form requires additional pruning in either case.  Therefore, don't prune your trees simply because you think you should, trees are less forgiving of mistakes than shrubs.  If you prune, you should do it for one of these reasons:

  • Remove any dead, diseased, broken, or weak branches to prevent insects and diseases from entering the plant.

  • Reducing the size of a tree that is outgrowing its space and presents a safety risk, such as interfering with power lines. It may also be necessary to trim lower branches that are impeding people passing by or mowing.

  • Thinning to increase air circulation to reduce insect and disease problems.

  • Cutting back dense branches and foliage that are preventing light from reaching the interior of a plant.

  • To reduce storm damage to dense trees (if strong winds can blow through the tree, rather than blow against dense foliage, the less likely you will lose branches, or the entire tree).

  • Remove faded blooms and seed pods on plants that stop growth and flower bud production (consult specific information for the plant variety you are growing). This will promote additional flowering.

  • Encourage denser growth by pruning.

  • Shear or prune to form special shapes or topiaries.


Our goal with ornamental tree pruning is to achieve more natural branching patterns. The tree can flourish if the branches are guided in the direction in which they intend to grow. To achieve this, we thin broken, dead, and constricting branches. TreeMedics Tree Service is the team to call when you need tree care. The overall density of the tree should be reduced to increase photosynthetic efficiency and allow the tree to consume more nutrients. 

When ornamental trees are thinned and pruned, they can better use the nutrients they need to survive. As the wind passes through the branches, the tree is less likely to break limbs due to strong winds or severe weather. Additionally, the interior of the tree can better transmit sunlight, which allows the lower branches to receive more light. Strong, healthy trees can provide you with many years of enjoyment.

Pruning times vary based on the type of tree, so be sure to consult the specific information for the plant type.  Likewise, do not prune just because you think you should; ensure that you have a good reason for pruning.  Generally, flowering and fruiting trees should be pruned as follows:

  • In spring, trees that bloom on last year's growth should be pruned as soon as they flower.  During the rest of the growing season, the branches will grow and produce flower buds for next spring. You are more likely to reduce flowering for next year if you wait until late into summer to prune.

  • Trees that bloom later should be pruned shortly after blooming, or right before the growing season (ideally, after the first freeze in fall and before the ground gets warm in spring).

  • Trees that bloom in summer or fall, only on new growth, should be pruned in winter after the first freeze or in spring before the ground gets warm enough to start growth.

  • Ornamental trees that produce fruits should be pruned after the fruit drops or before new growth begins in early spring.

  • Trees grown for fall foliage color or colorful bark should be pruned early in spring before new growth begins.

  • Heavy pruning in late summer should be avoided in general. New growth will not be mature enough to survive in cold climates.

  • Damage caused by storms should be pruned for repair as soon as possible no matter when it happens.


Since the branches of a healthy tree receive more light and wind, they consume more nutrients. You increase the odds of the tree surviving by thinning and pruning it. The practice of trimming ornamental trees is a wonderful way to maintain a strong, healthy and beautiful tree. Whether you are not a DIY person or you just want a professional to handle your ornamental tree pruning needs, contact TreeMedics today.

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