When it comes to pruning trees, there are a few key rules to keep in mind. First, remove any dead, sick, or injured branches to keep the tree healthy. Second, reduce the length of stems that compete with the main leader to keep the tree even. Third, remove branches that cross or touch each other and those that seem out of place to keep the tree small.
Pruning is the process of selectively removing branches from a tree in order to eliminate unwanted growth, improve its structure, and direct new, healthy growth. It's important to note that pruning at the wrong time can damage the plant or prevent it from flowering year-round. As you can see in the graphic above, late summer and fall are the worst times to prune. Young trees that have not been pruned for several years may require intensive pruning to remove larger branches and prevent deformation.
If you remember the golden rule - prune for a reason - you'll make good decisions for your plants and gardens. Each cut has the potential to change the growth of the tree, so it's important to set a goal for why you're pruning it.