Two Types of Timing
At this time of year we get a fair number of calls to our office from people who wonder “is it to late to prune my trees?”. When discussing the timing of pruning, it is important to consider both the age of the plant as well as the season of pruning. Age of the plant dictates factors such as what type of pruning should be done, how much material can or should be removed and where specific cuts should be made. The time of year has an effect on the direction and quantity of resulting growth. We can also have an effect on the plants health by pruning at specific times.
Although some thought should be given to the species of the tree, seasonal timing should be more about what results you hope to gain through your pruning. For instance, pruning in the dormant season (winter) tends to produce a flush of growth in the spring. Where as pruning in late summer tends not to produce these results.
As a rule, spring and fall are seasons to avoid when pruning. This is because there are so many other physiological processes occurring at these times. Pruning causes wounds that the tree has to deal with, and it is not best equipped to deal with them when it is trying to produce or drop leaves and flowers.
Winter is often the best time to prune your trees. This is because energy levels in the branches of the plant you are pruning are at their lowest. When the tree drops it’s leaves, it also packs energy into the trunk and roots. This allows the energy to be directed into the branches that remain, leading to extra growth. There is also reduced risk of insect or disease infestation as the pests are just not active in the winter. This eliminates a major concern of spring and summer pruning.
Certain species of trees should only be pruned a certain times of year. For instance, Elms should only be pruned in the dormant season between October 1st and March 31st annually. This is to reduce the chance of infection by Dutch Elm disease. Birches should only be pruned in the Summer as it reduces any chance of sap “bleeding” from the cuts and staining the bark of the tree. An ISA Certified Arborist should be able to help you decide when to prune any of your trees and shrubs. If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Start Pruning Early
Another important factor to consider is the age of the tree being pruned and when the best time to prune during its lifespan. The earlier you start, the fewer problems there will be down the road. Young and juvenile trees are in a better condition for responding to the cuts being made. Less material should be removed from older more mature trees as they have a much tougher time moving the energy and water required to help with the “healing” of pruning wounds.
When considering pruning any tree, it is important that you know how to make the proper cuts. If you are unsure how this is done it would be best to contact a professional. Adair Tree Care’s Arborists would be happy to help you out. You can request a quote with the button below.Request a Quote