There are different types of pruning depending on the stage of the tree: 

Training pruning: it is carried out during the first years, at this moment it is when we will give the desired shape to our tree. It generally lasts around 3 years. 

Maintenance pruning: it is done when we already have the tree perfectly formed to our liking and we want to keep it with the desired shape and size. Includes removing broken and dead branches. 

Rejuvenation pruning: it is carried out when the tree is very old, has received bad pruning or has suffered an illness or accident that has spoiled its shape and foliage. 

Each variety of tree is unique and requires specific care and/or at different times of the year. We advise looking for specific information for the chosen variety and your specific situation before using the generalized techniques presented here.


Types of pruning according to the shape: There are different types of training pruning depending on the space and characteristics that we have for our case. Here we will highlight a few:

  • Bonsai

Perfect for those who want to collaborate, but have little space or their floor supports little weight. You can create your bonsai of the desired size, it does not necessarily have to be micro, within this technique there are many sizes and some will adapt to your possibilities. 

The art of bonsai will allow us to dwarf practically any tree and enjoy its beauty in a very small space. 

There are many pages and video tutorials that will help us create our own from scratch or keep a purchased one.

  • Shrubby

You want to have a tree, but you can't or don't want it to be very tall. This method consists of letting our tree branch from very low and pruning it so that it has the shape of a bush at the required height. This technique is perfect, for example, for pomegranates. 

It is important to emphasize that the fruits should not touch the ground to prevent them from rotting. Do not allow them to touch the ground.

  • Column or cord

Árbol en EspalderaIdeal for having fruit trees in very little space. It is usually used to have many trees in very small areas. There are species that adapt better than others to this type of training pruning.

Some examples are apple, pear, cherry, plum, peach... 

The concept consists of having a vertical main branch that is highly branched from the base to the top, generally trimming each lateral branch to 3 buds. It usually requires constant maintenance to maintain the shape of the tree and prevent it from becoming misshapen. 

Some people wrap these fruit-bearing branches around the trunk and others leave them hanging. The choice is yours.

  • Cup or standard

We raise a normal tree, cutting the main branch or guide at the height that we want it to branch out.

Subsequently, we will cut each branch of the latter at the distance that we want it to branch out as necessary until the formation is finished, leaving at least 3 buds on each branch before cutting (it is usually done once a year just after winter when there are no risk of frost).

Once the formation structure of our tree is finished, which generally lasts about 3 years, it will only be necessary to carry out maintenance pruning, cutting the branches that are out of the desired shape or size outside the flowering period so as not to lose it. 

It is advisable to leave 2-3 main branches coming out of the trunk. From each of these branches, leave 2 or 3 branches, which we will call secondary. Finally, each of the secondary branches will leave another 2-3 branches called tertiary.

  • Espalier

It consists of distributing all the branches in a vertical plane, without allowing them to take a 3D shape. 

It is perfect for using a flat support or placing anchors on the wall of the facade and distributing the branches along it in the style of a vine.

There are many shapes that are used with this technique, being able to make a common shape or whatever you want. Some landscapers create authentic works of art.

With this type of training pruning your tree can be as unique as you want. The only limit will be your imagination and you will have the advantage that it will take up very little space compared to one with a standard or cup shape.


To carry out pruning, we need scissors suitable for the branch we want to cut. There are different types of scissors that you will use depending on the thickness of the branch you want to maintain and if we need to use one or two hands..

In the market you can find the following

  • scissors pruning a hand        
    • by-pass or sliding cut        
    • Anvil or shear type    
  • Two-handed pruning shears    
  • Hedge shears    
  • flower pruning shears    
  • electric hand saws

For young branches and blunt ends of branches to maintain shape, we can use normal flower pruning shears. If the branch begins to thicken and become hard we will need by-pass or anvil style tree pruning shears. For large branches, two-handed pruning shears or hedge trimmers are ideal. If we want to do it without effort or our tree has a considerable size (difficult on the terrace) the ideal is a small electric hand saw.

The most important thing before making a cut is to disinfect the tool that we are going to use and choose the appropriate scissors for that cut, avoiding unwanted tears that could damage or make our tree sick. 

It should also be taken into account that the ideal period to carry out pruning will be in autumn before the cold approaches to give time to heal the wounds or at the end of winter when there is no longer any risk of frost. Maintenance pruning can be done throughout the spring and summer avoiding frost and extreme heat. 

Each variety of tree needs different care, we recommend consulting specific information for the specific variety.