Knowing the proper time to prune and the effect that each season has on the pruning process is pertinent information for arborists and homeowners alike. Knowing how and when to prune helps avoid the damage of new growth. View our valuable tips below.
Late Winter – Early Spring:
- This is the best season to prune most plants, because it is prior to the beginning of growth.
- Prune at ground level of a few of the oldest canes from all mature shrubs, except the early flowering types.
- Trim deciduous hedges wider at the base and narrower at the top.
- From dormant fruit trees – remove weak, broken and crowded branches.
- Head back branches that have flower buds.
- In spring, prune evergreens of winter damaged wood and discoloured foliage.
- Avoid pruning frozen wood.
Late Spring – Early Summer:
- This is the season of greatest growth.
- Remove some of the oldest canes of mature shrubs after flowering; pinch out tips to encourage branching.
- Freely trim narrow-leaf evergreens of new growth.
- Remove dead flowers from broad-leaf evergreens to prevent formation of seed pods.
- Pinch any buds that may be starting unwanted growth.
- Summer pruning entails removal of plant parts that are actively at work.
- Shear hedges regularly for appearance.
- Prune some lower branches from shade trees to develop clean trunks.
- Always be ready to pinch tips of leafy shoots, but not until after flowering.
- Limit pruning done late in the summer as new growth may be damaged by the coming low temperatures.
Fall – Winter:
- Prune shade trees all winter for general shaping and to repair damage.
- Prune shrubs once more in September, especially to remove basal suckers.
- Avoid pruning evergreens.
- When removing heavy limbs, use proper safety procedures.