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To keep your trees living their best life, it’s important to get them regularly maintained. Rather than waiting until you see a problem, make tree pruning and trimming a regular routine. This raises the question, when is the right time of year for tree pruning and trimming? In general, it’s late fall to early spring. But there’s a lot to consider besides the time of year. Let’s look at what goes into these tree maintenance tasks and the best time to schedule them.

What are Trimming and Pruning?

Tree maintenance is an art and a science. A certified arborist has the expertise and the tools to carry out the work correctly and safely, with attractive results that boost your curb appeal.

First, what is the difference between tree trimming and tree pruning? To some, pruning and trimming may seem like interchangeable words; but both practices offer unique benefits for trees and shrubs. While pruning focuses more on tree safety and health, tree trimming applies to shrubs or hedges for aesthetic and design purposes. However, different issues may spark the need for one or the other. In other words, you might contact a professional tree care service either because you are unhappy with how a tree looks, or because you see signs of insect infestation or disease.

Pruning also takes into account any obstacles, like power lines or your roof. Simply removing branches that threaten these structures can leave the tree unbalanced. An unevenly maintained tree is more vulnerable to potential failure.

Do You Need Professional Tree Care Services?

For the safety of surrounding structures and people, it’s important to keep a strong framework as the tree is pruned. The tree’s weight should be evenly distributed and the top portion balanced with the root system.

Individual branches should be pruned to the branch collar, nearest lateral, or adjoining stem. Cutting too close may harm the bud and cutting too far away means the tree won’t heal properly. This work must be done with the correct tools and proper procedures to avoid additional wounding, potential fungus, and/or pest infestation.

Why is Winter to Spring the Best Time of Year for Tree Pruning or Trimming?

You can plan for tree maintenance anytime between late fall and early spring. Ideally, trees should be pruned or trimmed when they’re dormant. To narrow the window further, late winter is the ideal time, for the following reasons:

  • When the tree is bare of leaves, the arborist can get a clear view of all the branches.
  • The trees wounds will heal faster.
  • There is less risk of disease or pest infestation.
  • Once regular nightly freezing has stopped–in other words, late winter–less sap flows through the tree. That means less sap will “bleed” during pruning, potentially attracting pests.

You also want to stay ahead of storm season, when high winds or tornadoes threaten trees and property.

Certain tree diseases and pests become more prevalent during certain seasons. In late winter, in temperate climates, there is little risk of any of these. However, if you get trees pruned at other times of the year, you should ask about any risks associated with the season.

When Should You Prune Fruit Trees?

Pruning during dormancy is especially important for fruit trees. If you plant fruit trees only for looks, trimming can keep them looking nice, but expert pruning is even more important if you are hoping for a strong yield of fruit that you plan to eat. This is most important during the first few years after you plant a fruit tree.

To stay productive, fruit trees should be pruned every year in late winter before any buds break. Delaying pruning until summer causes fruit to ripen more slowly and can expose the fruit to sunburn. Regular pruning stimulates strong growth and larger size. The results can be seen after a single growing season.

Fine Tuning Your Pruning: Which Trees to Prune When

While pruning in late winter or spring is a general guideline, the needs of individual trees may vary. Certain species are better off being trimmed earlier in the winter versus close to the spring, and the timing also depends on your growing zone. Warmer climates may present a narrower window for when to maintain trees. In addition, some flowering trees are better to prune after their spring bloom.

Regardless of the time of year, a certified arborist will know what steps to take to preserve the health of the tree and the safety of those around it. It’s important that the person pruning or trimming your trees understands the best course of action depending on your specific species and climate. In addition, a professional will use quality tools, proper techniques, and safety procedures to help keep your trees, your family, and themselves safe.

Why Choose Townsend Residential for Tree Care Services

Regular tree care maintenance by a professional or certified arborist helps keep trees healthy and attractive. To make your trees last as long as possible, while reducing any risk to your home or safety, contact Townsend Residential to schedule tree care maintenance. While late winter may be the perfect time for pruning, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your trees throughout the year and watch for any signs of potential problems.