Every autumn, the companies that provide tree pruning services in Cambridge inevitably start to get the same questions from well-meaning homeowners and gardening enthusiasts: “Should I prune my trees in the fall? What about bushes and shrubs? Isn’t it time to prune something?”
Fortunately, this is one matter on which all horticultural experts and landscaping professionals agree: The answer to these questions is a resounding “No!”. Autumn is not a good time to prune any trees or other plants. Read on to learn why pruning in the fall is a bad idea and when you should prune them instead.
What Makes Autumn a Bad Time To Prune Your Plants?
There’s just something about this time of year that seems to get people into the pruning spirit. Maybe it’s the cooler weather, encouraging folks to spend more time outdoors, cleaning up their yards. Maybe it’s the fact that, as leaves begin to shrivel and fall from the trees, people start to notice imperfections that were previously hidden. Whatever the reason, fall tends to bring about a rash of pruning fever. Unfortunately, autumn is the worst possible time to trim or prune your plants.
Growth Versus Dormancy
Pruning trees encourages the plants to put on new growth as a means to “heal” from the cutting. During the fall, however, most trees and plants are preparing to enter a dormant phase. In other words, in the fall, your plants are busy diverting resources away from new growth production and instead allocating those resources into strengthening the root system in preparation for the cold winter months.
Pruning trees during the fall disrupts the plant’s natural allocation system since it must stop winterizing and refocus its energy on new growth. The result is that both the new growth and the root system are significantly weaker. The new growth in particular will have an extremely difficult time trying to develop and harden before the first freezing temperatures set in. The root system will also be weakened due to the disruption in the plant’s natural winter preparation process.
The Only Exception
The “No-Pruning-In-the-Fall” rule is universally applicable to all trees, shrubs, and perennials. There is, however, one exception. In the fall, it’s acceptable to attend to the three Ds of tree management: Dead, Diseased, and Dangerous. Any time is the right time to prune off parts of your trees that are dead, diseased, or that pose a danger to your home or property. Dangerous conditions could include damaged limbs that are likely to fall or limbs that are positioned in hazardous places, such as near your roof or power lines.
When Is The Right Time To Prune Trees and Plants?
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that most trees and shrubs, except for fruit trees and some flowering shrubs, don’t need much pruning at all. If you must prune your plants, however, the best time to do so is usually in late winter or early spring. This can help trigger the tree’s new growth reflex and effectively wake the tree from its dormant period. For plants that bloom very early in the spring, such as spireas or lilacs, wait until just after they’ve finished blooming to tackle any necessary pruning.
How Can Tree Pruning Services in Cambridge Help?
The best way to ensure that the trees, shrubs, and other plants on your property stay healthy and flourish to their full potential is to hire an experienced, professional tree pruning company, such as Martin’s Tree Service. The Martin’s Tree Service team has the knowledge and expertise to balance your aesthetic and safety concerns with the health and wellbeing of your trees, resulting in beautiful, healthy trees that can last a lifetime. Contact us to request a quote.