Best Practices for Tree Pruning

Tree Pruning

When Should I Start Pruning My Trees?

best practices for tree pruning

The Late Winter/ Early spring is a good time to take an assessment of your yard.  Most trees are dormant in the winter and unlike full on summer, will heal from being pruned.  For this first part you don’t really need tools.  Walk around your yard, focusing on the trees and shrubs/bushes.

  • Remove debris from under trees and shrubs
  • Remove broken branches
  • Stand back and see what limbs don’t work for the shape of the tree or shrub

Pruning preserves the health of trees and shrubs, and most have a form and shape which pruning can help bring out by removing dead or broken branches, and shortening errant branches.  Non blooming trees should be pruned while dormant. However sap producing trees: Maple, Birch, Walnut, and Elm wait until August.  Cutting or pruning trees that have sap makes it easier for insects and infections to get into the tree.

Early Spring Tree Pruning

Cut back butterfly bushes and Russian sage to about a foot, this will allow new growth.

Prune winter-injured foliage from evergreens like boxwood or holly firethorn in the spring.

Roses and hydrangea – cut off any damaged, dead or too crowded stems. Dead head any roses that have dead blooms from last year.  Even after roses have bloomed, deadheading will allow new blooms to come forth.

Early Summer Tree Pruning

Early summer is the perfect time to hedge and shape your evergreens.  The new summer growth will cover any prune/hedge cuts.  You should make sure to thin the interior of the evergreen as well so the exterior doesn’t appear too thick.  Our professionals can help to perfectly prune and shape your hedges.

After flowering is when lilacs and forsythia, crabapple, among others need pruning for shaping. Also when done early in the summer it creates the blooms you will have next year. Delaying this crucial step means less vibrant color next time.

Wait until the weather is clear, and don’t prune when it is damp. Dampness prevents healing. Thinning branches in general also allows more sunlight and air to reach the center of trees and shrubs

Keep your tools clean and sharpened. Remember to clean the pruning shears after each tree so as to not transfer issues from one tree/shrub to another!