When is the best time to prune trees

Pruning may seem like an easy task – you just grab a ladder and some pruning shears, climb up and lop off any branches that look messy or weak, just like a haircut, right? Actually, if you did that, you’d not only compromise your tree’s health, but you’d almost definitely be causing damage that would make your trees look even worse in the future! The consequences of pruning at the wrong time can include:

  • Weakened or deformed trees
  • Accidental introduction of disease or pests due to cuts that do not heal correctly
  • The reduction of fruit/nut production
  • Increased risk of cold or wind damage, or
  • The death of your tree

As you can see, pruning a tree is definitely not the same as a haircut and is actually more akin to a skin graft, so it’s important to tread carefully. Thankfully, there’s plenty of information online that can help guide amateur pruners to correctly trim their trees to perfection and if that’s not enough, you can always bring in a professional, such as one of the skilled arborists at Canberra Tree Lopping.

One of the key strategies to ensuring you’re pruning correctly is to prune at the right time of year. Pruning during the wrong season can severely hurt or even kill your trees, so getting the timing right can be just as important as knowing where and how to cut. Most trees should be pruned during the dormant winter months, but this is definitely not a hard and fast rule for all species, so it’s vital that the first step of your pruning job involves a little education and research.

Identifying your tree species before pruning will not only ensure you prune at the right time of year but also guide you towards the correct method of pruning for that species. The second step to pruning is determining why you want to prune. Are you pruning to just neaten up your tree, to remove dead-looking branches or to promote fruit growth? Perhaps you need to minimise the size of your tree for a specific purpose — whatever the reason, there are different methods based on your desired outcome, so this is a very important step. Next, you’ll need to know ‘how’ to prune, as chopping away indiscriminately is definitely not the way to go. Safe pruning requires knowledge on where to cut along a branch, how to cut the branch and with what tools.

As you can see, pruning is much more difficult than a haircut and researching before making that first cut is crucial. If you really want to ensure your trees remain healthy and productive, you should consult a skilled arborist —  such as one of the tree professionals at Canberra Tree Lopping — who can identify your trees and advise you on the best method of pruning. Alternatively, they can do the hard work for you for a great price!

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