Need 24/7 Emergency Storm Services? 1-888-827-4802 Customer Portal

If you have trees in your yard, you know that they can sometimes look overgrown and in need of some shaping. But choosing the best time for tree trimming is critically important. Trimming trees at the wrong time can be detrimental to tree health, but the answer is not always straightforward. Many factors go into deciding whether you should trim, such as the type of tree, whether it has insect or other damage and other issues in the surrounding landscape that may be affecting the tree’s health.

This article is designed to help you navigate this often-confusing question so you can make an educated decision for the health and beauty of your landscape.

First, Why Is Tree Pruning Necessary?

While many people see cutting tree branches as unnecessary, nothing could be further from the truth. Pruning your trees is not only necessary for their health, but also for helping them — and therefore your landscape — look their best. Reasons your trees may be in need of pruning include:

They Need to Grow.

It may seem counterintuitive, but tree trimming promotes tree growth. When a tree care specialist removes specific branches that are struggling to survive or interfering with other branches’ growth, the tree can use its resources for other, healthier parts of the plant.

They May Be Diseased.

Just like human beings, trees can get sick. And many tree diseases such as powdery mildew can spread rapidly from tree to tree, infecting and disfiguring or even killing many of the trees in your landscape. Proper pruning can remove affected branches and reduce the chance of disease spread.

They May Be Unsafe.

Damage from storms, branches that hang over buildings or power lines or dead branches all pose a threat to life and property. Tree pruning can remove these hazardous branches — and even entire trees where necessary — to keep you and your property safe.

They Need a New Look.

Trees that are unkempt, scraggly or otherwise out of shape can benefit from a nice trim that can provide a better aesthetic for your landscape. A tree care specialist can thin canopies to let in more sunlight for better tree health, reduce the tree’s height to help it grow denser, healthier foliage or even shape your trees into specific shapes.

Regardless of why you choose to prune your trees, you should know that proper tree trimming will save you money in the long run. Trimming contributes to tree health and is much less expensive than tree removal and replacement.

When Should I Trim My Trees?

Now that you know the “why” of trimming, let’s get into the when. In general, most deciduous types of trees can be lightly pruned in the summer, but this will vary according to species. In most cases, heavy tree pruning will be best conducted in late winter, when the plant is fully dormant.

When your trees go into a dormant state in response to colder weather, it is much easier to see their branch structure (in deciduous trees) and determine where there are splits, diseased branches or areas that require shaping. When spring comes the tree can then focus all its resources into putting out healthy, new, vigorous growth in the pruned areas.

Exceptions to the Rule

Like most things, there is no “one size fits all” approach to tree trimming. Proper pruning depends on the type of tree and when it blooms or fruits. For example, some tree species such as magnolias, redbuds and crabapples are best trimmed after they have experienced their spring or summer bloom. If you prune these too early, you may damage buds and reduce the number of flowers or fruit to follow. And of course, timing will depend on where your trees are located geographically, since seasons are not   constant from one area to another.

Another exception to trimming in the winter is when there has been damage to the tree that causes a safety hazard. Limbs that are dead or severely damaged, especially on a tree that is very large or old, are best removed as soon as you notice them. A trained tree care professional will be able to determine whether the limbs need to be removed and if the tree will require bracing afterwards for additional safety. A certified arborist will not only have the right knowledge to remove dangerous limbs, but also the right equipment to do the job with the safety of people and property in mind.

Let Townsend Arborcare Handle Your Tree Trimming Chores

Trees represent a huge investment in your landscape and pruning them at the wrong time can have an adverse impact on their health — and the beauty of your property. Unfortunately, there is no one “right” time to trim trees. Proper trimming times will depend on a variety of factors, from the species of tree and where it is located geographically to your goals for the tree’s ultimate use and look in your landscape.

At Townsend Arborcare, we take the worry out of when to trim. Our team of certified arborists and knowledgeable tree care professionals can assess your landscape and develop a pruning schedule that will manage each of your trees at the appropriate time. Plus, we are always available to ascertain the safety and health of trees, ensuring dangerous branches are safely trimmed.

Don’t stress over tree trimming chores. Contact a Townsend Arborcare consultant at 888-827-4802 and learn how our tree trimming specialists can keep your landscape looking lush and healthy.


Learn more tips and insights