You have probably heard of the importance of tree pruning to maintain a tree’s health and beauty. However, that does not mean that you can go after your tree with the clippers whenever the mood strikes you. Pruning is beneficial to trees when carried out correctly, but if you don’t know what you are doing, it is potentially deadly. Therefore, it is essential that you prune your tree at the right time of the year.
When Is the Right Time of Year for Tree Pruning?
The right time to prune a tree depends partly on what kind of tree you have. It also depends on whether you are trimming back healthy growth or removing dead branches. If the latter, then you do not need to wait for a particular time of year. There is never a bad time of year to remove dead growth, and doing so will not harm your trees.
As a general rule, winter should be a safe time to trim your trees. The plants go dormant during this time, so they will not produce new growth that could be harmed by cold temperatures. Pests and other disease-causing organisms are also less active during this time, so your tree should have time to recover without becoming infected.
However, if you have trees and shrubs that flower in the spring, it may be preferable to wait until early summer, right after their usual blossom time, to prune them back. You can encourage new growth, and therefore even more blooms the subsequent year, by doing this. Pay attention to whether your tree produces buds during the summer months. These remain dormant during the fall and winter to bloom in the spring. You should save pruning until after these bloom.
Rarely, if ever, should you prune a tree in the fall, especially the early fall. The tree will respond with new growth that is vulnerable to drops in temperature. This will deplete the plant’s energy reserves wastefully, as the new growth will likely die off as winter sets in.
What Happens if You Prune a Tree at the Wrong Time?
Cuts made to healthy limbs and branches make your tree vulnerable by weakening its defences against pests and infectious disease, creating openings by which they can get inside. Therefore, you should avoid doing any pruning during times of the year when these agents are active.
Pruning when your tree puts forth new flower and leaf buds forces the tree to use some of the energy stored up to produce replacement buds. It puts unnecessary stress on the tree, and it also results in smaller and more sporadic blooms because the replacement buds may not mature in time.
You should never prune a tree while it is blooming. You should also wait until the leaves have fully developed to trim a tree that produces a heavy sap flow, lest you make the tree more susceptible to drought and disease by putting it under too much stress.
You should also not prune trees during the height of their foliage. A tree’s leaves absorb energy from the sun that the plant turns into food through photosynthesis. If you remove the foliage, the tree can have a hard time getting the nourishment it needs to grow.
Tree Pruning by Professionals
The timing of tree pruning is only one of many factors that go into proper technique. Pruning is both a science and an art form. It not only has to be done at the right time but using the right tools and placing the cuts in the correct position. Our experienced and well-trained professionals at Martin’s Tree Service know how to prune trees in a way that is helpful, not harmful. Contact us for a quote today.