When Is the Best Time to Trim Trees?

When is the best time to trim trees? The short answer is that it depends on the type of tree and the reason you are trimming it. In this post, J&D Tree Pros, your reliable tree pruning service in Apex, NC, discusses the issue in greater detail.

When to Undertake Tree Pruning

Pruning during winter makes the most sense as the trees are dormant. While there are some exceptions, it is usually best to undertake proper pruning between November and March because:

  • The lack of foliage makes it easy to evaluate the branches.
  • Trees focus their energy on healing rather than growth during this time.
  • Fewer pathogens and pests are active during winter.
  • The trees are dormant. 
  • It avoids the bleeding of sap that can attract pests.

Pruning Young Trees

You should ideally wait a year after planting a tree to prune it. Aside from that, you should only make corrective cuts to remove damaged or dead branches. After the first year, be careful about which low branches you trim, and never touch the branch collar.

You want them to be long enough to protect the trunk but not so long that they hamper the tree’s growth. Pruning too hard at this stage will negatively impact the tree’s ability to produce energy, making it harder for the tree to put down strong roots.

Pruning Subtropical Trees

When is the best time to trim subtropical trees? You can trim subtropical trees in sunny states such as California and Florida anytime because the conditions are mild. However, in North Carolina, these trees require more careful handling. 

If you can get them to grow well, it’s best to leave trimming to the professionals. Should you wish to give it a try, never remove over 30% of live wood. If you must cut away a large broken limb, it’s best to make that the one cut for the season.

Pruning Flowering Trees

When is the best time to trim trees that flower? When it comes to flowering trees, you will be guided by when the tree blooms. As with all other trees, you can cut away dead or dying limbs at any time. For the rest, it’s best to wait until after the tree flowers as follows:

  • Late spring to early summer: Trees that set their flowers on old wood will respond well to pruning straight after their blossoms fade. Many old-fashioned trees, like dogwoods, magnolias, flower cherries, and crabapples, fall into this category.
  • Late winter to early spring: You should prune these after they bloom but before they start their growing period. Examples of trees that fall into this category are American holly, crape myrtles, and smoke trees.

Contact the Professionals for the Best Advice

Now that you can answer, “When is the best time to trim trees?” you may be nervous about making a mistake or wondering, “Is pruning good for trees?” If so, contact J&D Tree Pros at (919) 467-7997 to schedule service. 

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