Pruning A New Tree To Control Its Height

Posted on: 11 January 2023

Newly planted trees must be given time to anchor themselves, to settle into their new location. The precise definition of "settle" might vary, but it may take from 12 to 24 months depending on your location. They'll need water and appropriate fertilization during this period, and should be regularly assessed for insect and fungal infestation. Generally speaking, after the tree has become established, it's time to keep its height manageable.

Height Control

Controlling the height of a tree is certainly optional, and when the tree has been chosen for its vertical dimensions, you'll want to let it grow as tall as it can. But with certain trees—such as fruit trees, decorative trees, or trees that have been planted close to a structure, you'll want to manage their height.


Strategically pruning a tree will limit its vertical growth. This prevents the future growth of the tree from infringing on the view from your window or potentially growing so large that it may damage your home if it were to fall. Managing the growth of a fruit tree can be a smart idea since it allows the plant to concentrate the nutrients required for producing fruit while making it easier for you to harvest.

Winter Months

Pruning should take place in the winter months when the tree is dormant. Although this type of maintenance can be performed by a homeowner, it's fairly labor-intensive. When you have numerous trees that need to be pruned in a specific way, you might want to contact a local company that provides professional tree trimming services.


If using a professional service, be sure to book ahead, as winter pruning may be a busy period. It's essential to prune in the colder months, as removing leafy foliage during the summer months will instantly restrict the tree's ability to photosynthesize. Reduced leaves equal a reduced ability to synthesize sunlight to nutrients, which can be detrimental to the tree's health when not done properly. When branches are trimmed in winter, the tree will slowly start the warmer months with this limit to its ability to photosynthesize, instead of having it immediately forced on it. 


During its first dormant period (its first winter after the tree has established itself), you must identify the tree's primary branches that extend outwards from its trunk and support its canopy. These can have their length reduced, with their own ancillary branches removed. The first pruning may feel (and look) a little brutal, but over time, the tree's canopy will take on an abundantly thick, almost globe-like configuration—looking healthy while not growing excessively tall. 

As mentioned, you may find it easier to have your tree professionally pruned to achieve these results, but in the long term, these results are well worth the effort. 

Contact a local tree pruning service to learn more.