How to Make a Tree Grow New Branches

Do you have a favorite tree in your yard that always seems to stay dormant year-round? Have you wondered for years why it has failed to produce your desired sprawling canopy? If so, you’re not alone.

As Sacramento’s trusted tree service, we at Fallen Leaf Tree know a thing or two about unlocking the untapped potential of living landscapes. Read on as we discuss how to make a tree grow new branches in a safe, healthy manner. Let’s transform your specimen from a scrawny sapling into a sculpture of lush foliage!

Proper Pruning Is the Key

Pruning is the practice of strategically trimming certain parts of a plant to encourage healthy branch growth and achieve your desired shape, but it’s also a double-edged sword. Do it poorly, and you might stunt your tree’s development and leave it susceptible to disease.

To help improve your chances of success, we’ve compiled these simple steps:

Time it Properly

As a good rule of thumb, you should prune during the growing season, when plants actively produce new shoots and have a lot of stored energy. 

Do you have a deciduous like a red maple or valley oak? Late spring or early summer is usually their ideal pruning time. Evergreens often benefit from a late winter or late summer trim, depending on the species. 

Assess Your Tree’s Health

Never trim a tree in poor health. Check for common warning signs such as:

  • Wilting leaves or branches
  • Discoloration
  • Fungal growths
  • Off odors

Cutting branches will only further weaken your specimen, so take the steps to restore its vitality first.

Don’t Skimp Out on Tools

Investing in proper equipment minimizes plant trauma and makes the job much easier. Consider adding these to your tree-care arsenal:

  • Gardening shears for small tree branches
  • Secateurs and loppers can swiftly cut thicker growths
  • Pole pruners extend up to 15 feet, perfect for tackling distant areas

Know Which Branches to Cut

Randomly hacking away at the canopy won’t deliver desirable results. These are the types of branches you should remove:

  • Crossing branches: Overlapping growths will compete for sunlight exposure and hinder overall growth.
  • Water sprouts: Green, vertical growths that usually originate near a main branch only take away energy from the plant. Prune them to direct nutrient flow upwards to the crown.
  • Root suckers: Root suckers or shoots found near the trunk don’t contribute to the tree’s aesthetic or development, so you should also remove them.

Learn How to Prune Branches

The last thing you need to know on how to make a tree grow new branches is the best pruning techniques. Follow these tips:

  • Always remove lateral branches in one clean motion, right at the point where they connect to the main stem or branch collar.
  • Keep scaffold branches (the primary limbs of a tree’s canopy) equally distributed and about 18 inches apart from each other.
  • Prune anything that grows fully parallel to the trunk; this will encourage better air circulation.
  • Do you need to remove larger limbs from mature trees? Cut them in 18-inch segments until you reach the base while trying to minimize bark tearing as much as possible.

Partner with a Local Tree Expert

Pruning is a detail-oriented, labor-intensive process that not everyone can do. If you find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Our arborists know how to make a tree grow new branches and:

  • Save you time, money, and effort
  • Create visually appealing foliage structures
  • Maintain your plant’s health and vigor
  • Offer recommendations for your specific goals
  • And more

Give Fallen Leaf Tree a call at 916-447-8733! We also encourage you to check out our blog and learn the benefits of trimming lower branches on young trees, among other helpful insights.

Fallen Leaf Tree Management

Expert Tree Care in the heart of Sacramento & surrounding areas with your satisfaction guaranteed. One of our Arborists can give you a comprehensive evaluation on all the trees and shrubs in your landscape and give you a scheduled maintenance plan. Call for an arborist consultation.



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2900 Heinz St
Sacramento, CA 95826

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