Trimming & Pruning Your Trees and Shrubs
Imagine never getting a haircut or a trim! For most people that is a ludicrous thought, and for good reason. Not only does untrimmed hair look and feel unkempt, it’s also not conducive to the overall and long term health of the hair follicles.
Trees and shrubs are no different! If they are not occasionally trimmed and pruned
they won’t look good, they will not be healthy and they will eventually become
overgrown and often be ruined to the point of needing to be uprooted entirely.
Very often, one dead branch on a tree, if not removed, can cause disease to spreadto the remaining healthy branches and cause the unnecessary demise of an entire tree. A simple removal of that affected branch could prevent this unnecessary issue and prolong the life of the tree indefinitely. The reason for this is that dead branches can harbor insects, decay,mold and countless other tree-killing elements which aren’t usually found on healthy trees.
Additionally, trimming and pruning a healthy tree, will decrease the tree’s density and allow more sunlight and air to reach the tree, further enhancing its health and overall well-being.
If pruning is being done to remove dead branches or other diseased matter, it can- and should- be done as soon as possible, winter, spring or summer. If, however, pruning is being done as part of regular maintenance to boost the health and vitality of your trees and shrubs, it’s good to keep in mind the most opportune times and seasons to do- and not to do- so.
Winter Pruning, when most trees and shrubs have little or no foliage, is almost always a good idea.
The newly pruned trees will be primed and ready for the spring season and give forth a fresh, vibrant batch of leaves. It is, however, a good idea to wait until the end of the winter, after the real freeze has passed, to start the pre-spring pruning process.
Summer pruning is not always recommended. However, if a tree requires
pruning in the summertime, it’s best to do so soon after it has fully bloomed
and is at full-capacity. At that point, pruning the tree will choke off some of
its food supply and oxygen and produce the desired effect of slimming down
the tree’s look. Another advantage of summertime pruning is the easy detection of dead branches, as when the tree is at full bloom, the weight of the leaves tends to send the dead branches downward, making them easier to spot.
If the reason you are pruning is to enhance the flowering of trees, for spring-blooming trees, it is best to do so immediately after the flowers begin to fade, for summer-blooming trees or shrubs, the best time to do it is late winter or early spring.
The only time it is highly recommended to not prune trees is during the autumn season.
During the fall season, the spread of disease and fungi is rampant, and many trees will have branches that look dead or sickly which in fact will self-heal by the time spring comes around. By pruning those branches in the fall when they seem sickly, it may be causing unnecessary harm to the tree that would otherwise have thrived beautifully later on. Of course, it’s always good to consult with a professional gardener for all your pruning, trimming and garden related questions.