tree trimming for health

Tree Trimming: How To Time It Right

Tree trimming isn’t as simple as taking a pair of pruning shears and cutting off branches whenever it’s convenient for you and the tree. Tree trimming means knowing all about trees: how they grow, what shape it’s going to take after the trimming, and how to control that shape. Trimming and pruning are all about controlling the tree and ensuring its beauty, health, and your safety are all protected.

Trimming can be done by anyone who’s paying attention to their trees, but trimming done right is best done by arborists who know the biology of a tree. A tree needs different things in different seasons. Here’s what to look for during the year.

tree trimming winterTree Trimming In Winter

Don’t prune in early winter, but late winter – February ideally – is a great time to prune trees. Any time after the last frost, before the blossoming season. In late February the tree is dormant, and thus heavy with sap and energy. This allows the tree to heal itself much quicker, and they’ll be less susceptible to disease, bugs, and infection, too. Trees lose much of their healing energy when the leaves start growing.

This loss of energy is why you should prune in late winter. Reduced top growth comes late spring means more energy for the rest of the tree, leading to strong, rapid growth of new shoots.

Tree Trimming In Spring

Early spring is a good time to prune deciduous trees, just before growth starts. They can still heal themselves quickly, and won’t have as large an effect on growth as when the tree is active. Plus, there’s the added advantage of being able to see the entirety of branches before leaves block your view.

If it blooms in spring, prune it after they finish blooming. When the flowers begin to fade and die, call someone to prune the tree and do what you want. If it blossoms in summer, though, leave the pruning until late winter or early spring. Pruning it earlier can ruin, sometimes even kill the tree.

tree trimming by a proTree Trimming In Summer

Summer is a time to trim away dead, diseased, or do a little structure work on the tree. Because of the growth stimulation that can come from pruning, doing the trimming in late summer can cause growth that won’t be mature come winter, and the cold weather will damage the tree. Summer is a complicated time, which makes it a great time to contact an arborist.

Pine trees should not be trimmed until summer. In early to mid-summer, pine trees go through a major growth of new branches, and these can cut back and thinned without worry.

Tree Trimming In The Fall

Don’t. Don’t trim, prune, snap – don’t do anything to the branches in the fall! Pruning, in addition to ridding your plants of dead or diseased parts, stimulates growth and the tree will work to replace what’s been removed. This, then, weakens trees and shrubs just as they’re going into their dormant winter period. They will be much less strong come spring.

If you’re worried about a dead or large branch, call Brockley Tree Service to assess the situation. Trees will need care year-round, and there are always exceptions to the general guidelines above. Trained arborists should be able to tell you if you’re looking at an exception, or if you should wait for a more optimal time.

14 replies
  1. Jeremy Thompson
    Jeremy Thompson says:

    It’s great to be aware that trimming a tree properly would require knowledge about the tree. I’ll try calling in professionals, so they can make our trees look better. Thanks for the great read!

    Reply
  2. Hannah Schroeder
    Hannah Schroeder says:

    I’m glad you said that tree trimming in the fall weakens branches right before the dormant winter period. An oak in my front yard has grown so big that I’m worried about the branches falling on the house. I wanted to have the branches trimmed, but I wouldn’t want to weaken the oak, so maybe I’ll wait until next spring.

    Reply
  3. Kayla
    Kayla says:

    It’s almost winter and our trees need to be trimmed. My dad wants to do it himself, but my mom refused. She suggested having a tree trimming service to trim the trees. She also shared this article with him. It says trees should not be pruned early winter, but late winter. Around late winter, the tree’s heavy and sap with energy and heals itself much quicker.

    Reply
  4. Taylor Bishop
    Taylor Bishop says:

    Thanks for going over some details about tree trimming. I didn’t know that pine trees shouldn’t be trimmed until summer, because they can grow a lot of new branches. I’m kind of curious to learn if there are a lot of other trees like this, or if this specifically applies to just pine trees.

    Reply
  5. Joy
    Joy says:

    I didn’t know that a tree needs different things in different seasons. My mom wants to prune the trees in our backyard because the season will change soon. Dad suggested having tree services and shared this article with her. It says that early spring is a good time to prune deciduous trees, just before growth starts.

    Reply
  6. Bobby
    Bobby says:

    I feel so fortunate to be in Arizona, where we don’t have to deal with some of the crazy winter stuff that the rest of you guys do. For us, there is a little bit of a difference that weather makes in terms of our approach to certain trees and certain jobs– trimming vs removal — but for the most part, we enjoy year round business. It does slow down a bit in the winter because the trees don’t grow as fast, and people are saving money for Christmas, etc. I love reading other companies blogs though and seeing what challenges they face, just in case we ever decide to move and I have to start up my tree service in a different state. The summers here are hot! I don’t know if my wife can handle it much longer lol!

    -Bobby from Tree Service Peoria

    Reply
  7. Derek Dewitt
    Derek Dewitt says:

    I have an old tree in my yard that I am worried might die soon if I don’t get it pruned, so I am looking into getting it trimmed. I like that you mention how February is the ideal time to prune a tree in the winter though. Hopefully, if the tree is dormant, it’ll heal quickly and be ready for the spring. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  8. Kayla
    Kayla says:

    My dad loves the trees in his garden and wants to have them properly maintained. You mentioned here that a tree has different need depending on the season. Moreover, summer is a complicated time for trees and a perfect time to hire tree services.

    Reply
  9. Kyle Wayne
    Kyle Wayne says:

    I like that you talked about taking down or pruning can actually protect you and your surroundings. My neighbor is looking to hire a tree lopping service but wants what’s best for her yard. I’ll be sure to talk to her about hiring a professional who can do it safely and properly.

    Reply
  10. Derek Dewitt
    Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I are thinking about pruning our trees this spring, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about how everything blooms in the spring, making it the best time to prune. I want the flowers to be as healthy as possible, so we’ll be sure to do this before winter gets here.

    Reply
  11. Kayla
    Kayla says:

    My dad loves the trees in the yard and regularly trims them, however, he slipped in the ladder last weekend and can’t do yard chores now. You discussed here that there’s a right time to trim trees. Furthermore, it’s highly recommended to hire tree care services for quality yard work.

    Reply
  12. Elsa Anderson
    Elsa Anderson says:

    I never took into account that there is a proper technique in trimming down trees depending on the season we’re on. It’s good to know that now’s the perfect time to prune trees that are shedding leaves, as they heal quickly during this spring season. I may not have the tools to trim them all down, but this article just gave me an idea to hire a tree service expert to maintain the trees in my yard. Thank you!

    Reply
  13. Burt Silver
    Burt Silver says:

    Summer is coming and so I’ve been wondering what had to be done to properly care for my trees in my backyard. It’s good to know that they shouldn’t be trimmed in the summer. Sometimes I worry about the health of my trees so I’ve been thinking of getting in touch with a tree service company that can help me maintain them better.

    Reply
  14. Burt Silver
    Burt Silver says:

    I really like how you go through how to manage and trim your tree for each of the different seasons. It’s really great to know how I should be trimming my trees and taking care of them because I don’t know very much about taking care of trees. Perhaps it would be a good idea for me to hire a tree service that could help me out with my trees so that I know for sure that they are taken care of.

    Reply

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