To Prune or Not to Prune…Depends on the Season

In California, with our milder seasons in comparison to the rest of the country, you might be wondering if you need to stick to a particular schedule for tree pruning or if it can be done at any time. The answer to that question is found in the overall health of your trees, as well as seasonal timing. Let’s start by looking at how the health of your trees can impact your pruning schedule.

Are Your Trees Healthy?

One of the first things that you need to do is work with a certified arborist, who can help you to access the health and wellness of each of your trees. Those trees that are healthy may not need to be trimmed except on a schedule in time with your seasons. If your trees are not healthy, however, your certified arborist will work with you to determine how much tree pruning might be necessary.

For instance, if there are signs of disease in the branches of the trees, then your arborist may recommend the removal of those branches. There may be additional measures suggested, depending on where the disease is presenting itself and whether it is contagious to other trees. By working with a professional, you will be able to determine what the needs of your unhealthy trees are and how best to deal with them.

Pruning Seasonally

For healthy trees, there is definitely a season that is best for tree pruning. This season is basically when your trees are dormant. While many individuals might answer, “Oh, that time is fall.” The truth is that trimming your trees in the fall can actually be counterproductive. Here are a few of the reasons why.

Many plants and trees see pruning as a stimulus for new growth, but fall is a time when trees and plants are preparing to go dormant. Essentially, if you start pruning in the fall on your healthy trees, then you are giving your trees a confusing message. When you prune on a warm day, then the sap starts to rise up in the tree. However, when the temperature drops that night, it can end up being damaging to your trees. Bleeding sap can be messy and attract pests.

The point of pruning is to keep your trees healthy and to manage any signs of disease, but if done at the wrong time, it can end up causing more problems than it solves.

Pruning during the dormant season is ideal because it:

  • Allows wounds to heal faster, thus helping your tree to stay strong
  • Less risk of disease or pest infection
  • Less sap flow

Often, the best time to do the routine pruning of your trees is during the winter or early spring. Plus, because all the leaves are gone, you have a better view of what might need to come down or be pruned.

Also, you don’t want to prune during a wet season, as it can also be counterproductive to the health of your trees. Here are a few points to keep in mind regarding the best dormant time for specific trees:

  • Conifers – Late winter
  • Non-blooming Trees – Late winter
  • Summer-blooming Trees – Late winter
  • Spring-blooming Trees – Wait until immediately after they bloom, but as early as possible.

If you are not sure where your trees fall in terms of this schedule, working with a certified arborist can help. Our knowledgeable staff can help you to figure out the type of pruning your trees need and when it needs to be done.

The Safety of Your Home

Another reason to consider promoting tree pruning is for the safety of your home and family. If trees are ignored, then storms can result in branches falling and damage or harm being done. Our team often works with you to avoid such a situation, allowing you to identify the branches that need to be removed for safety reasons.

If you are interested in having a tree removed or new drought-resistant trees planted, contact us today!

Recognized as a top tree care company, Tree Barber Enterprises serves thousands of residential and business customers in North County San Diego. Our Certified Arborist is highly skilled and extensively trained in the latest arboriculture techniques, which enables us to perform our tasks quickly, safely and economically.