Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) grows wild just across the northern California coast, but it’s the most frequently planted pine on the planet. It’s heavily planted for pulp and lumber in Australia, South America and Africa. With increase averaging 4 to 8 feet annually, the pine can reach 53 feet by age 15 and top out near 100 feet tall. You can keep your pine fitter and smaller by pruning it annually starting at a young age, however at some point you’ll have to call in a professional.
Prune Monterey pines through October through January. Since pine sap from pruning attracts harmful beetles, it’s essential to prune while the pests are inactive. Several beetles carry a respiratory disease known as pitch canker that may kill Monterey Pines.
Prune your pine for security and health first. Remove all dead branches at their point of origin. Clip broken branches 6 inches into healthy wood at a lateral branch. Prune out any dead branch tips; those could sign pine pitch canker and must be removed and burnt. Remove crossing branches and those heading into the tree while they are still small.
Cut back pine branches that touch or approach your house or outbuildings; this really is a fire safety issue. Reduce the possibility your tree will fall above by thinning and decreasing its crown. Prune the tallest branches, making the cuts at a lateral division using a diameter at least one-third of this cut division. Never prune more than one-quarter of the canopy through any 1 year.