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Tree Removal Service Billings Mt

Healthy Growth Unlocked: Pruning Evergreen Trees Like a Pro

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Evergreen trees continuously add to the beauty and strength of our environment. However, it’s important to understand the right timing and methods for trimming these trees as it greatly influences their look and health. The approach to pruning evergreens is a bit different compared to deciduous trees. With fundamental pruning methods and the help of professional advice, your evergreen trees’ appeal in outdoor landscapes can be noticeably improved.

What Are Evergreen Trees?

evergreen trees in billings

Evergreen trees differ from deciduous trees by retaining their foliage throughout the year, giving them their namesake. While we often associate evergreens with needle-like leaves found on pines, firs, and spruces, many evergreens have broad leaves like magnolias or hollies. These broad leaves often have a waxy coating to help with water conservation. Unlike deciduous trees that shed their leaves all at once, evergreens lose leaves gradually throughout the year, ensuring consistent energy production. This year-round foliage makes them valuable additions to the landscape, offering consistent color, privacy screening, and vital wildlife habitat even in the harsher winter months.

Are Evergreen Trees Prominent in Billings MT?

While Billings, MT, does feature some evergreen trees, they aren’t the most prominent type of tree in the region. The semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters favors hardy deciduous trees more suited to handle these conditions. Evergreens like pines, spruces, and junipers can still be found in Billings, especially in landscaped parks and residential areas where they add year-round color and privacy. However, as you move into the surrounding higher-elevation areas with cooler and wetter conditions, evergreen trees become more dominant in the landscape.

Importance of Pruning Evergreen Trees in Billings MT

Pruning evergreen trees in Billings, MT, is important for several reasons:

  • Aesthetics and Shape Control: Evergreens planted in yards or parks often require pruning to maintain a desired shape, prevent them from outgrowing their space, and enhance their overall visual appeal.
  • Health and Safety: Removing dead, diseased, or broken branches is crucial in Billings’ climate. These branches pose a safety hazard during the region’s strong winds or heavy snowfall. Pruning also promotes better airflow, which reduces the risk of fungal diseases.
  • Sunlight Penetration: Evergreens can become dense, blocking sunlight from reaching inner branches or other plants below. Selective thinning and pruning improve light penetration, promoting healthier growth within the tree and benefiting the surrounding landscape.
  • Adapting to Climate: While some evergreens naturally tolerate Billings’ climate, others might benefit from pruning to adapt to the area’s specific conditions. For instance, reducing overall size can help some evergreens handle the strong winds or lessen the snow load on branches in winter.
  • Long-term Investment: Proper pruning, especially when trees are young, sets the foundation for a strong and healthy tree structure as the evergreen matures. This reduces the need for major corrective pruning later in its life.

Important Note: Always prune evergreens in Billings at the right time (late winter/early spring, generally) for optimal healing and to avoid stimulating vulnerable new growth before harsh weather. If you’re having hard time monitoring your evergreen trees, don’t hesitate to call a professional tree care service in Billings.

What to Do

  • Do prune at the right time: Late winter or early spring, just before new growth begins, is usually the best time for pruning evergreen trees. This allows cuts to heal quickly while promoting healthy new growth. However, dead, diseased, or broken branches can be removed anytime during the year.
  • Do use sharp, clean tools: Sharp bypass pruners, loppers, or hand saws are your best allies when pruning evergreen trees. Always ensure your tools are cleaned and disinfected before and after pruning to prevent disease spread.
  • Do understand growth patterns: Evergreens typically have a few basic shapes – pyramidal (like spruce or fir), upright and spreading (like arborvitae), or rounded/mounding (certain junipers). Knowing your tree’s natural growth habit will guide where you make cuts, helping to preserve its intended form.
  • Do make proper cuts: The ideal pruning cut lies just outside the branch collar (the swollen area where the branch meets the trunk or larger branch). Make angled cuts at about 45 degrees to enable proper healing. Avoid leaving stubs, which are prone to rot and disease.
  • Do thin selectively: Pruning evergreen trees primarily involves thinning out branches for better airflow and sunlight penetration. Focus on removing crossing, damaged, or very crowded branches at their point of origin. Avoid shearing the outer surface excessively, which can leave brown patches as it prevents light from reaching the inner foliage.

What Not To Do

  • Don’t prune in winter: With few exceptions, avoid pruning evergreen trees in late fall or winter. Wounds won’t heal properly during this time, and pruning stimulates new growth that can be vulnerable to harsh winter weather.
  • Don’t top evergreens: Topping involves severing a tree’s main leader (central trunk). This practice disfigures the evergreen, weakens its structure, and leaves it prone to pests and disease issues. Instead, choose trees that naturally fit your space, or carefully prune side branches to control spread.
  • Don’t over-prune: A general rule of thumb is to avoid removing more than one-third of an evergreen tree’s total foliage in a single pruning season. Excessive pruning stresses the tree and can harm its long-term health. If heavier pruning is necessary, consider spreading the work over several seasons.
  • Don’t prune when wet: Pruning evergreen trees during wet weather increases the chance of spreading diseases around your garden. Ideally, prune on a dry day to promote healthy wound healing.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help: If your evergreens are large, have complex pruning needs, or you’re unsure where to start, consulting a certified arborist is always a wise choice. They have the expertise to safely and effectively prune your trees for optimal health and beauty.


Pruning evergreen trees is an essential part of maintaining their well-being and attractive shape. By following these key dos and don’ts, you can ensure your evergreens remain vibrant and healthy for years to come. Remember, gentle and thoughtful pruning practices promote strong trees and enhance the natural beauty of these landscape staples!