How to monitor and clean up old branches in the repository?

Amir Kamali
2 min readMay 24, 2021

As an engineering manager, part of my tasks has been looking after repositories and make sure only active branches are in the remote origin.

If you have not established the git-flow, you can establish a culture to delete old branches and remind people to delete branches.

To get started we’ll be using git for-each-ref command

This command will allow you to take a look at entries in your git

Filtering refs

You can filter the results to only display remote branches by specifying the ref path:
git for-each-ref refs/remotes/

Formatting & Sorting the results

You can format the output by using —-format

In case you’d like to get the results based on branch authors you can use
-authorname switch

Find the oldest branches and authors

If you’d like to sort the result to find oldest branches you can sort by -commiterdate switch:

git for-each-ref — sort=-committerdate refs/remotes/ — format “%(committerdate) %(authorname) %(refname)”

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Amir Kamali

ex. Director of Mobile & OTT at AMC Networks, ex. Engineering Manager at Tile / Life360