When to Start Safety Pruning Trees: From Juvenile to Giant

Planting trees is a great way to increase your property’s value and beauty. Trees provide shade and can help lower energy bills. They also enhance the surrounding air quality and natural habitat. But maintaining trees does take some effort.

The Benefits of Pruning Trees

Pruning trees on your property is essential. Pruning these plants removes the dead and dying branches, which allows for new growth. It can also prevent pests and rodent infestations from taking over in the overgrowth. If you have fruit trees, pruning is an important part of encouraging healthy and ongoing fruit and flower production. And finally, pruning prevents large and dead branches from falling on your home, vehicles, or individuals. This action can protect your property and family.

The act of safety pruning trees is also a preventative measure to ward off diseases and keep your trees healthy. By thinning out the canopy, you can increase air and light throughout the foliage, which minimizes the conditions in which many diseases that impact trees develop. In this way, pruning the tree can make it stronger.

Juvenile Tree Pruning

Despite the importance of pruning trees, many people fail to realize that it should be done during certain times of the year and started early (although broken and dead limbs should be removed when they are noticed to prevent falling on people or property). And while it may be easy to think that young trees wouldn’t need pruning since they are still ‘filling in,’ there are many benefits of proper pruning of juvenile trees.

Pruning young trees can help them develop a more robust structure and a more desirable form. Therefore, taking measures to prune them when they are young often prevents additional corrective pruning as the trees mature. There are a few things to keep in mind when you prune a juvenile tree:

  • Each cut can change the projected growth of the tree. Pruning adult trees is more forgiving in this aspect. But because juvenile trees are still growing, it’s essential that you make deliberate pruning cuts that prevent damage that will negatively impact the tree’s future growth.
  • Start with small cuts. Trees cannot heal but rather grow over the damage. Because of this aspect of their growth, a wound on a tree will be there forever. Starting small does less damage than large cuts.

Pruning these trees should also be done by an experienced Certified Arborist with the proper pruning tools to ensure that the cuts are clean and allow for good closure.

Pruning Adult Trees

Pruning is required throughout the tree’s life. While juvenile pruning has a greater impact on how the tree grows throughout its lifetime, pruning adult trees is required to keep them healthy and disease-free. Although dead, diseased, and broken branches should be removed immediately, pruning most trees should generally be done in mid-to late-winter or early spring while others should be done in the summer.

Usually, a tree’s dormant period is between November to March, and pruning during this time tends to re-invigorate tree growth once spring comes. Conversely, pruning most during the summer or at peak growth times tends to slow the tree’s growth because it can remove leaves that provide vital nourishment for the plant.

Pruning some trees during the spring or fall is considered the least desirable time to prune the tree. These seasons are the pre and post-dormancy periods, and at these times, the tree is most vulnerable. Excess damage can make them more susceptible to winter injury or less susceptible to ‘leafing out’ in the early spring.

The absence of foliage on many trees during the winter also ensures that the individual pruning the tree has a clear view and selects the optimal branches for pruning.

Some types of trees, such as evergreens, require little pruning. But even these trees should be pruned in the late winter to minimize the impact of the process on the tree. And while the late winter is generally a good time to prune most trees, it may be important to consider your climate zone and the specific species of tree. If you are unsure when to prune, it may be beneficial to contact a local Certified Arborist for additional information.

No matter what size your tree is – or what life stage it is in – pruning is an essential action that can enhance its health and well-being. In addition, pruning juvenile trees can proactively ensure that you have less work in the future related to maintaining the tree. But pruning a tree properly takes a lot of skill and knowledge from a Certified Arborist. For more information about the benefits of pruning all of your property’s trees, contact North County San Diego’s tree experts at Tree Barber.

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