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How To Prune Conifers

Conifers are trees or bushes which are typically evergreen all year round. They have unique scale like needles which bear cones and are a popular and easily recognised shrub, as they come in different forms, such as large trees and hedges but there are also dwarf versions too. Conifers are a great addition to anybody’s garden, due to their natural beauty and simple maintenance steps. The main care which they need is in the first few years, as the planting stages are crucial to its future development. After this stage, conifers are not demanding in terms of care. The main question you need to ask is “am I pruning this conifer for a reason or just for the sake of it?”


One reason your conifer will require pruning will be due to its form. The main leaders usually shouldn’t be pruned, as once they’re cut they don’t grow back. However, when other leaders grow from the main leader, they may need to be pruned as it can give the conifer a messy look. It is the best practice to choose the weakest leader from the two to prune.




As conifers develop with little maintenance, it is important to thoroughly assess the position of it in the garden before planting. As they grow quicker than you initially anticipate, so leave a little extra room for growth in the place which you plant it, to ensure it doesn’t take over buildings and other plants in the garden. However, gardeners have found that the main reason for them usually having to prune a conifer is due to the sheer size of it.


Removing any diseased or dead branches from the conifer should be carried out all year round, however in periods of dry weather. You should prune your conifer around 5 inches from the infected section. You should remove branches which could potentially rub together, as this is the starting point for disease. Also, branches that appear weak should be pruned.


  • Choose sharp tools which are the correct size for your conifer.
  • These Wilkinson Sword pruners would be great for pruning a small conifer!
  • Disinfect tools.
  • Cut branches at a 45° to 60° angle.
  • Open up the conifers for better sun exposure and air circulation.

pruning conifers

Conifers could take up a large part of your garden, however it is likely that it will be thing which you spend the least time maintaining. With the right care and tools you can keep your conifer looking healthy all year round, which can brighten up your garden!

Published September 28th, 2015 by Jordan. Article ref 3902

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