Tree trimming and pruning is essential, and highly recommended, to promote healthy growth and a healthy tree. But when is the best time of year and season to complete the task? There is no right answer to this question because really a tree can be pruned during at any time depending on the reason but there sometimes of the year that are better than others. Depending on the type of tree and your motivation to prune your trees, you may want to consider one time over another.
Let’s discuss the different times of the year you can trim your trees.
Winter to Early Spring Pruning
Like all plants, trees also go through cycles of growth and dormancy. From the time the leaves begin to change color until the new buds of early spring, trees are dormant and do not grow much if not at all. Some will say that this is the best time of year for any major or heavier pruning and trimming.
The leaves are gone, and the branches are exposed, making it easier to identify problematic areas, such as dead branches, areas of disease, and crossed branches. Also, the ground is usually harder, giving easier access to the tree in need of service. Removing these problems during this time helps promote stronger growth during the spring.
Although all species of trees can sustain a winter pruning, it’s best to wait until after the coldest parts of winter to avoid leaving the tree vulnerable to extreme cold snaps we have here in Wisconsin.
Evergreens and fruit trees are best trimmed during the end of winter/ beginning of spring.
Spring and Summer Pruning
There are many advantages to pruning during the spring and summers. Buds and leaves are starting to grow, revealing what branches may died over the winter. Although the leaves are covering the branches this is also the best time to determine weaker branches that can no longer hold the weight of the leaves. Which could also down the line cause problems during the snow season.
The spring is the best time to prune and trim any trees that flower mid to late summer. While trees that flower during the springtime are best to trim after the flowers begin to fad. The reason behind this that these trees flower off previous year’s growth.
Trees that produce a lot of sap, such as maple, birches, elms, and walnut trees, are best trimmed in the summertime. During the wintertime all the sap is stored in the branches and trunks and during the summer the sap moves to the leaves. When you trim a branch during the winter, the sap will bleed from the wound. This causes a mess and leaves the bark looking diseased. It is best to prune during the summer to avoid this mess.
Now this isn’t always avoidable, this may be the worst time to do any pruning or trimming. Wounds take longer to heal and any spores from fungal diseases spread easier as the affected branches are cut. Pruning and trimming during the fall not only puts the tree in question the any other trees you may have in your yard at risk as well.
As you can see there are many variables to take into consideration when deciding when to trim and prune your trees. It is always recommended that you contact your arborist when deciding what to do with any tree.