prune trees for healthier grass

7 Pruning Tips for Happier Grass

The grass that inhabits your lawn needs ample sunshine to thrive. Many grass varieties require four to six hours of direct sun each day, which can be a challenge if your yard also includes trees and woody shrubs. Annual pruning of trees that cast shade on your lawn can let significantly more light through, so your grass can flourish underneath. In addition, pruning your trees and shrubs each winter keeps them strong and less susceptible to disease or insect damage. 

Once basic pruning is complete, analyze any areas where grass appears thin due to heavy shade. In many cases, simply raising the canopy of nearby trees and shrubs, by eliminating the lowest tiers of limbs, will provide enough light for your grass to thrive. If not, an expert arborist may be able to strategically thin the canopy to increase the amount of sunlight on problem spots.

Tips for Successful Winter Pruning:

Hire a Professional for Large Trees

For large trees, it’s always wise to hire a professional. They make it look easy, but dropping heavy limbs from overhead is difficult and dangerous work. However, you’ll get better results if you educate yourself so you can discuss your projects knowledgeably with the pros.

DIY Pruning for Small Trees and Shrubs

Small ornamental trees and shrubs can be pruned by homeowners with basic DIY skills. Trim deciduous trees only after all the leaves have fallen. For flowering trees and shrubs, wait until just after blooming finishes.

Use Sharp Tools

If you decide to do the work yourself, be sure to start with freshly sharpened blades and tools for cleaner cuts—the branches will heal faster and more thoroughly.

professional landscaper with sharp pruning sheers

Inspect and Clean Before Pruning

Before pruning healthy branches, inspect the tree or shrub and remove any diseased or broken limbs. Always thoroughly clean tools with bleach after cutting diseased branches to avoid contaminating healthy plants.

Remove Suckers and Crossing Branches

Remove suckers — small branches growing perpendicular to the trunk — as well as any crossing branches. Branches that cross against each other may rub through the bark, exposing the tree to potential infestation or disease.

Prune for Symmetry

Next prune for symmetry, removing branches that seem to run at odd angles compared to the others, like branches that run straight up or down.

Follow Pruning Limits

As a general rule of thumb, remove 25% of the canopy or less each year to preserve the health of the tree or shrub. The limbs and branches should cover the top two-thirds of the overall height, both for aesthetics and to keep the tree strong.



If you have any questions about thinning areas in your grass, our Certified Turfgrass Professionals are standing by to help at 770.832.8608 or


related posts

NG Turf Logo

An industry leader throughout the Southeast, providing premium grass varieties backed by superior service and
a one-year warranty
*Terms apply.

Recent Posts


Sod Calculator

How much sod do I need?  Use our custom sod calculator to find out.

One Year Warranty

Enjoy the peace of protection with the NG Turf One Year Warranty.
*Terms apply.

Follow us on Social