When is the best time to prune trees?

Healthy and strong trees breathe life into your landscape. Overgrown and dead branches, on the other side, can take away your lawn’s beauty. That is why pruning trees is essential.

While most homeowners know this, they aren’t sure when is the best time to prune trees. If you are wondering the same thing, you are in luck because the lawn care experts at Tree Menders explain it all.

Keep reading to find out the best timing for pruning trees, the reasons that trees need pruning, and the benefits of pruning.

Why Is It Necessary to Prune Trees?

We prune trees for numerous reasons, all of which come down to a better-performing and better-looking tree. Even though trees grow naturally without pruning, this landscape maintenance allows trees to reach their potential for your landscape. Before you determine the best time to prune trees or the optimal way to prune them, it is important to know why you should do it.

Pruning focuses on cutting out dying, dead, or diseased branches. It is also a helpful technique for removing branches that rub together or otherwise weaken the growth of the tree. With pruning, you open up the canopy to allow necessary nutrients such as air and light to enter the tree. This increases foliage while decreasing the risk of dryness or disease.

When it comes to larger trees, pruning is of absolute importance. Because water sprouts and suckers steal nutrients, the tree may weaken over time, causing it to dry or become susceptible to diseases. With pruning, you can support the proper circulation of nutrients and establish a dominant tree that withstands extreme temperatures and harsh weather.

Regular pruning and landscape maintenance will help you create the ideal yard you envision. Knowing how to prune and trim properly can encourage blooming and flowering and control tree size.

Another reason it is important to prune trees is safety. Diseased trees, dead or dry branches, and weak limbs are a threat to you, your family, and property. Well-pruned trees are healthier and stronger, and they don’t represent a danger to people and structures. When pruning, remove branches that are too close to electrical lines, safety lights, children’s toys, or pet shelters.

Depending on your location, it is also essential to prune trees before hurricane season begins. Dead limbs and thin branches can break more easily in the wind and damage your house.

All in all, here are the main reasons for tree pruning:

  • Increasing overall plant health
  • Encouraging flower and fruit growth
  • Improving your home’s appearance and overall curb appeal
  • Protecting your family, pets, and property

When Is the Best Time to Prune Trees?

The best time to prune trees is during the winter season or from November through March. During these months, most trees are dormant, which makes it the perfect time because:

  • Trees are less exposed to disease and pests
  • Most of the leaves are gone, so you have a better vision of the surrounding landscape
  • Trees recover faster, and by springtime, your tree will be healthy again

The more you prune trees each winter, the more they will blossom in springtime. Even if the tree is young, don’t be afraid to prune to achieve the shape and height you want.

Here are a few other tips you should know regarding pruning and timing:

Tree Pruning to Control Growth

If you want to control your tree’s growth, you will need to perform pruning during the summer months. When pruning, make sure to remove only dead, damaged, and diseased branches. Avoid cutting out major branches so you avoid leaving your tree susceptible to disease and high temperatures. Stick to minimal pruning.

Tree Pruning to Encourage Flowering

If your goal is to stimulate flowering or to encourage fruit growth, it is best to perform pruning after the tree’s flowers have faded. The ideal time is after the petals have started to fall and before new ones start growing.

Most trees don’t require much pruning, so minimal cutting is enough to improve flowering.

Tree Pruning to Restore Damage

Over time, trees are susceptible to infestation, collisions, disease, winds, and storms. They are also vulnerable to infection, drought, and chemical poisoning. While regular maintenance such as watering is required, it is not enough to repair the damage caused by some of these challenges.

If you think your tree is unhealthy, it is best to consider immediate pruning. Damaged trees that are left untreated increase the risk of disease and infection, ending in tree removal.

Now that you know the best time to prune trees to stimulate growth, encourage flowering, or restore damage, let’s talk about different trees and their needs.

Generally, trees fall into two groups: – late bloomers and early bloomers.

  • Early-blooming trees – These trees flower during the spring. If you prune these trees over the winter months, your tree won’t flourish. The best time for pruning is when the tree finishes blooming. Some of the most common early-blooming trees are apricot, ornamental cherry, chokecherry, magnolia, and flowering plum.
  • Late-blooming trees – These trees flower during the early summer months, so it is best to prune them in early spring for optimal results. Some of the most common late-blooming trees are Japanese tree lilac, hawthorn, American smoke tree, catalpa, and dogwood.

“If you think your tree is unhealthy, it is best to consider immediate pruning. Damaged trees that are left untreated increase the risk of disease and infection, ending in tree removal.”

Avoid Pruning in the Fall

There is something about fall that makes homeowners eager to cut and prune. While some think it is the perfect timing to get rid of dry and damaged branches, it is a mistake that could cause more harm than good.

During the colder months, your trees focus their energy and save their nutrients for the roots. They are preparing for dormancy, and if you start cutting branches, you aren’t going to do any good. Even a small cut won’t heal in time and may leave your tree vulnerable and susceptible to disease. In other words, your trees will expend its resources to heal and will struggle through the winter.

The Benefits of Pruning in Winter

Pruning trees in the winter months promotes health and sustains growth. While it may be more comfortable for you to prune in July with an icy lemonade by your side, it is not good for the trees.

Here are some other benefits of pruning in winter:

  • Proves less stressful for the trees
  • Guarantees better results
  • Limits exposure to diseases and pests
  • Preserves the look of your home

Before you embark on your tree pruning project, it is important to ask, “Is this something I can do?” While it looks easy, tree pruning is a time-consuming job and requires concentration, knowledge, and the right tools. You don’t want to start pruning only to realize that you don’t know which branches to remove and which to leave. If you want to preserve your trees’ health, it is best to consult a tree pruning expert.

Call the professionals at Tree Menders for all your pruning needs. You can count on us for spring, summer, fall, and winter lawn care. We know the best time to prune trees and where to make those cuts to keep your trees healthy and happy in Toronto, Markham, Mississauga or anywhere around Greater Toronto Area.