Pruning Young Trees
Start pruning young trees 2 to 4 years after planting to develop a strong framework for future growth and longevity. Strive to maintain the trees natural shape and form for maximum beauty.
Start by evaluating the existing structure. Remove or reduce the height of any co-dominant stems. These are side branches that compete with the central leader – main trunk. If left to develop, they form a weak structure more susceptible to storm damage.
Remove damaged, broken, and rubbing branches or those growing toward the center of the tree.
Select healthy branches that are evenly spaced along the leader in a spiral pattern. Keep those with wide crotch angles, the space between the trunk and branch. Wide crotch angles, like those seen on oaks, are stronger and more resistant to storm damage.
Then remove any remaining branches that are not part of the framework.
A bit more information: Do minimal pruning at the time of planting. Remove only broken and damaged branches. Leaving more of the top growth intact means the plant produces more energy, resulting in less transplant shock and quicker establishment.