Tree-Pruning Tips: Now is the time to do it!

By: albertaarb - December 19, 2016

Don’t mess everything up before you’ve even started by pruning at the wrong time.Your trees have been growing straight and strong for years – so it can be intimidating when you need to step in with a pair of shears to improve its appearance or health. Pruning your tree at the wrong time can cause irreversible damage while trees that are pruned at the right time will only grow stronger and more magnificently.

Each tree species is different, but winter is almost always the best time to prune your trees. This includes the most popular species such as:

  • Azalea

  • Bald cypress

  • Bradford and Callory pears

  • Butterfly bush

  • Chaste tree

  • Cherry

  • Crabapple

  • Crape myrtle

  • Honey locust

  • Hydrangea

  • Juniper

  • Plum

  • Poplar

  • Smoke bushes

  • Spruce

  • Sumacs

Read on for top tree-pruning tips that explain why now is the perfect time to prune—and just as importantly, the exceptions to the rule.

Pruning before growth accelerates healing

The safest and best time to begin pruning is just before the buds swell.

You should aim to prune in the winter, during your tree’s dormant period, right before its spring growth cycle begins again. This means the cuts you make will only be exposed for the shortest length of time before the tree’s natural growth accelerates the healing process.

Pruning is easier when there are no leaves

Pruning concerns itself primarily with the structure of the tree: the branches, buds, or roots. Foliage may be pretty, but it can get in your way and obscure the shape of your tree.

A lack of leaves also means more water and nutrient will go towards the roots, which will result in stronger and faster growing shoots later.

Sap makes things more complicated

Some trees naturally ooze a sticky sap when they are cut into, particularly during late winter or early spring. While releasing this sap does not hurt the tree, it does make the pruning process dirtier and more complicated.

Instead, these sap-releasing trees are best pruned in the summer or fall:

  • Birch

  • Dogwood

  • Elm

  • Maple

  • Walnut

At Alberta Arborists, we have helped countless people get rid of trees safely and efficiently, and we can help you, too. Our highly experienced arborists are trained to deal with any tree removal in any location and can ensure no damage is done to your property.


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