Spring blooms have come and gone leaving homeowners with a question, when is the right time to prune my trees and/or shrubs? There are many factors that go into making this decision including, bloom time of your tree, the growth rate of your tree and the results you want to achieve. Whether you are pruning to permit new growth, reduce the height of the tree, or simply want to shape the tree into the perfect design, you need to make sure you prune during the right time.
Pruning and shaping should start when trees are quite young. This will prevent many serious problems before they develop. Older, neglected trees are more difficult, dangerous and expensive to prune.
It is good practice to remove dead or diseased wood immediately, no matter the season. For all other pruning needs, here is a guide to help.
(The following dates are averages, but may need to be adjusted for warmer or colder climates.)
Winter Pruning: January to March - Young or weak growing trees and shrubs, summer blooming shrubs such as roses, rose of sharon, crapemyrtle and spiraeas.
Spring Pruning: April to May - Spring flowering trees and shrubs such as azaleas, camellias, daphne, forsythia, lilacs, rhododendrons, cherries, plums, deciduous magnolias and crabapples after they are finished blooming. Also needle-leaf or broad-leaf evergreens can be pruned or sheared.
Summer Pruning: June to Early August - Overgrown or neglected deciduous flowering or fruit trees and shrubs, suckers and watersprouts and faded flowers on summer blooming plants such as roses and spiraea. Also needle-leaf or broad-leaf evergreens can be pruned or sheared.
Fall Pruning: Late August to October - Only necessary pruning to prevent limb breakage during winter weather. Decaying fungi spread their spores profusely in the fall and healing of wounds seems to be slower in fall cuts, so it is best to avoid pruning in the fall.
Once you have an idea of when you to prune, you will be able to have your perfect trees and shrubs in no time!