How Do I Prune a White Birch Tree?

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Prune white birch trees by pruning at the right time, choosing the proper branches to prune and cutting carefully. Always wear eye protection and follow safety guidelines to prevent injury while pruning the trees.

  1. Prune at the right time

    White birches should be pruned before the first day of May or after the first day of August. It is imperative that pruning not take place during the summer months to prevent the pruned trees from being infested with the bronze birch borer. These insects are attracted to the cut sites, making the trees extremely vulnerable to a fatal infestation.

  2. Choose the proper branches to prune

    Start pruning by removing dead branches first, then move to any branches that cross over other branches or that form clusters. Birch trees need to have a single central trunk, so prune any stems and branches that may grow into a split trunk later. Don’t cut more than a quarter of the branches in any one pruning.

  3. Cut the branches carefully

    To prevent damage when pruning large limbs, use a double-cut method on any branches larger than 2 inches in diameter. Starting a few inches away from the joint of the branch and truck, saw upward, then make a downward cut next to the trunk until both cuts meet. This method protects the branch collar and helps to ensure the tree’s health.