- Pines generally need little to no pruning.
- On young plants, if a more compact new growth is desired, pinching may be helpful. Using the fingers, snap off one-third of the new growing tips while in the candle stage (in the spring when young needles are in a tight cluster). Avoid using pruners or a knife since it will cut the remaining needles, giving a brown tip appearance.
- Since pines produce few side buds, they are intolerant of more extensive pruning. If the terminal bud on a branch is removed, growth on that shoot is stopped with additional growth occurring only from existing side branches. Do not shear pines.
- Like other evergreen trees, small to mid-size pine trees look best (from the landscape design perspective), with their lowest branches allowed to drape down near ground level. When a lower branch has to be pruned back for space issues, remove it back to the trunk.
Check out this fact sheet from Colorado Master Gardener: