Can You Cut Back a Money Tree?

The money tree (Pachira aquatic) is a vigorously growing, spreading tree also known as the Guiana chestnut. This wetlands tree thrives in moist, sunny locations but adapts easily to dry, shady environments. The healthy money tree also responds well to pruning cuts, including hard pruning of its branches and stems.

Hard Prune

The hard pruning process involves cutting back the money tree's branches and stems. This process surpasses the general maintenance pruning because it involves removing healthy branches as well as distressed and ailing branches. The money tree should be hard pruned only during the late winter to early spring periods, just before the growing season begins. The process is used to promote the money tree's healthy development as well as develop its form and shape.


The money tree will tolerate general pruning throughout the growing season to maintain its shape. Broken and ailing branches should be cut back as they appear. This redirects the tree's energy to more viable areas. Growers can choose to cut the ailing branches back to the tree's healthiest point or simply remove the branch from the trunk. Cutting back, rather than removing, the branch will promote budding behind the wound.

Trunk Pruning

The money tree that is cut back to the trunk will produce new branches and stems. This process is often used when the plant is potted, such as with bonsai. Cutting back the trunk should only be completed on healthy specimens during the very early spring. The money tree will use the growing season to repair its wound and develop new shoots. This process will slow the money tree's overall growth and it may take several growing seasons for the tree to develop a new canopy of foliage.


In its natural environment, the money tree can easily reach up to 60 feet. In these cases, the healthy money tree can tolerate a few ailing branches and will shed the branches in time. Smaller money trees, especially potted ones, benefit from the immediate removal of ailing branches. Always use a sharp, sterile saw or pruning shears to make clean, flush cuts.

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About the Author

Writing professionally since 2004, Charmayne Smith focuses on corporate materials such as training manuals, business plans, grant applications and technical manuals. Smith's articles have appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and on various websites, drawing on her extensive experience in corporate management and property/casualty insurance.