Deciding When To Prune A Tree

When pruning a tree, timing is a major factor to consider. Sometimes it is best to prune a tree in the spring or summer. Other times, you are better off trimming the tree when it's dormant in the dead of winter. What's the difference, and how do you decide? Well, you can start by considering the following factors.

What is the goal of your pruning?

If you are pruning the tree to shape it or to encourage it to grow in a different direction, that's quite a different matter than pruning it to remove dead and decaying branches. If your goal is just to remove dead wood, you can really do that at any time of year since you won't be cutting into living tissue. If your goal is to re-shape the tree or bush, then that's something you generally want to do in the dormant season—late winter or early spring. Removing too many branches while the tree is actively growing can be hard on it, leading to die-back and wilting.

Does the tree flower?

If the tree or shrub you're about to trim is a flowering one, then you need to be careful not to prune it after the buds have appeared. If you do trim it too late, you'll be limiting the tree's flowering ability. Trimming the tree in late winter before buds appear allows it to concentrate its energy and resources on the branches that remain, which means you'll see more leaves and flowers on those branches.

How moist is it in your area?

You really want to avoid trimming trees during moist weather. The moisture can cause the cut ends of branches to be exposed to fungi, which can then infect the tree. If your springs and falls are really moist, then you'll want to trim your trees earlier in the spring before the moisture becomes too intense. On the other hand, if you live in a dry area with little rainfall, you can usually get away with waiting a little later in the spring to trim. Or, if you need to trim the tree in the fall, you can simply wait for a dry day to do so.

Pruning a tree will help keep the tree looking its best. Make sure you are timing the pruning well for best results. Adhering to the advice above will get you off to a good start with that.

Contact a tree service company for more information about tree pruning