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What Is the Best Time of Year to Cut Back Trees?

Is there a best time of year to cut back trees? That’s a question that homeowners or property managers may be asking themselves as they consider how to best maintain their property.

While the answer may not be perfectly clear-cut, there are some things to consider when making a decision about tree trimming and services.

image - What Is the Best Time of Year to Cut Back Trees?
What Is the Best Time of Year to Cut Back Trees?

Using the Seasons to Your Advantage

The best time of year to cut back trees is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This is because, during this time, the tree is dormant and will not experience as much shock from the pruning.

Tree pruning services can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Pruning can help improve the overall health and appearance of a tree, as well as help, protect it from storms and other damage.

It’s important to note, however, that improper pruning can do more harm than good, so it’s always best to consult with a qualified professional arborist before starting any kind of tree trimming or cutting.

Look at Tree Species

The best time of year to cut back trees depends on the species of tree. For most deciduous trees, late winter or early spring is the best time to prune.

This is because the tree is not actively growing at this time, so pruning will not encourage new growth. Additionally, the tree’s dormant period helps it to recover from pruning stress more quickly.

Ultimately, it all depends on the species. Different trees respond differently to pruning, so it’s important to know what type of tree you’re dealing with before you start hacking away at its branches.

Some trees, like maples and birches, should only be pruned during the late winter or early spring when they’re dormant. This is because these trees bleed heavily when they’re cut, and if you prune them during the growing season, you’ll end up with a lot of sap dripping all over your sidewalk and driveway.

Other trees, like oaks and elms, can be pruned anytime throughout the year. Oaks actually respond well to being pruned in the summer because this is when they’re actively growing and adapting to changes well.


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Pruning In Summer

Sometimes pruning in summer or inappropriate season is unavoidable. If you must prune in summer, do so late in the season and avoid pruning newly transplanted trees until they are well-established.

Pines and other evergreens can be pruned in spring or summer. Avoid pruning these trees in fall, as this can stimulate new growth that will be vulnerable to frost damage over winter.

Autumn Pruning

If you’re reading this article in the fall, it might be more beneficial to your trees to hold out a bit longer depending on the species.

If late winter or early spring is the best time for your tree trimming, it’s just a few short months, and you’re likely to be able to schedule a service call easily with professionals.

Exceptions to Every Rule

Simply by examining different species, the rules and best practices can change especially between coniferous and deciduous trees. For some species, pruning during summer can cause more sap to flow from the cuts, which can attract insects and diseases.

Autumn is typically a better time of year for pruning heavier trees since they’re beginning to enter a period of dormancy. It’s always best to consult with an arborist or other experts before undertaking the decision yourself.

Call an Arborist

Calling an arborist is the only way to know when is the best time to prune or trim your trees, specifically.

A certified arborist can expertly assess your tree and provide you with a sound recommendation and tree trimming might not even be called for. Arborists can also help you devise a long-term tree care plan to ensure the health and safety of your trees beyond their pruning schedule.

Certified Arborists

Trees require a holistic approach to health, especially as their rarity in your area increases. Certified arborists spend a lot of time qualifying their expertise, with constantly updated arboricultural certification standards designed to export and enhance the theory arborists learn in the classroom.

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The International Society of Arboriculture is set to keep arborists sharp and knowledgeable, mastering tree health as much as possible.

The benefit is that your certified arborist will take one look at your tree and know what calendar month is the best time to trim it. So, when you look for an arborist for tree trimming, ask for a certified arborist; they’ll know what to do.