When is the Best Time to Prune Trees?

When is the Best Time to Prune Trees?

After months of looking at branches and limbs stripped down to their bare bones, the rich, bright tones of spring’s bloom are a wonderful welcome to the new season.

Underneath the striking spring scene, you’ll want to make sure your trees have a healthy base.

Knowing when to trim trees keeps them healthy in the long-term while setting them up for a season of robust growth.

Below we’re answering your most common questions about when to trim, or prune, your trees.

When is the best time to prune trees?

Sometime between the changing leaves in fall and flower blooms in spring, your trees need a trim. Anytime between late fall and early spring is best for tree trimming or pruning.

Talk to your local arborist about pruning before spring blooms emerge. Typically a tree's pruning cycle is 3 to 5 years, but type, size and health play a role in the cycle that will work best for your tree. 

Why is late fall through early spring best for tree pruning?

In fall and winter, trees enter a dormant stage, halting their growth. This inactivity along with dropping temperatures creates an ideal setting for pruning. If you prune after new growth has started, you can limit the plant’s bloom potential for the year.

A harder ground in winter gives arborists easy access to the tree, and the bare canopy makes branches easier to see and handle.

Check out our dormant pruning infographic for quick facts about pruning trees in fall and winter.

What are the benefits of pruning in late fall or winter?

Pruning trees in the dormant season promotes tree’s current health and sustains future tree growth.

And even better, dormant pruning saves time and money by helping with disease management.

Watch this video to see the benefits of pruning trees in the dormant season first-hand.

Take advantage of the last weeks of winter. Contact your local Davey arborist about a dormant pruning consultation.

Or learn more simple ways to keep your trees safe by signing up for our eNewsletter!

  • The Tree Doctor February 20, 2017 >Hi Shirley! Thanks so much for reaching out. I've passed along your request to your local team, so they should be reaching out soon. If you'd rather, you can give them a call directly at 973.658.5279 or connect with them online here: davey.com/newjersey#main-form. Here if we can do anything else to help, Shirley.
  • Shirley Obrien February 17, 2017 >Received email......davey customer....interested in pruning, would appreciate estimate
  • The Tree Doctor September 12, 2016 >Hi there, Tami! Your honey locust tree sounds like a beaut. We'd be happy to help prune and shape it to keep it looking its best. I'm passing this along to your local office in Ottawa. They should reach out soon about an estimate. If you'd like, you can also contact them directly. Give them a ring at 866.852.2533 or fill out this form: daveytree.ca/local-offices/ottawa-tree-service/#main-form
  • Tami Cogan September 10, 2016 >Hi I have a Honey Locust tree that is taller than our house and in need of pruning /re-shaping. Can you please provide an estimate. Tami
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Related Blog Posts
  • 4 Reasons It's the Perfect Time to Prune

    Now that the fall season is here, you may think this is the time to simply sit back, relax and wait for colorful leaves to fall from your trees. But, just because your trees’ dormant season, or the wicked winter, will be here soon, doesn’t mean they do not need your care.

    Did you know? This is a great time to decide if your trees require pruning.

    Here are just a few reasons why it’s the perfect time to prune:

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  • Applying Dormant Oils Can Help Protect Your Trees From Parasitic Insects

    While dormant trees may not be so easy on the eyes for us, overwintering insects still find their look appealing. Late in the summer, scale insects, mites and aphids will lay eggs on trees that stay on through the winter months until new larvae are born. These larvae can damage fruit trees, such as apple and pear trees, as well as certain shrubs and woody ornamentals.

    Thankfully, you can help protect your trees and shrubs with dormant oils (also known as horticultural oils), a readily available and relatively inexpensive solution. An application of dormant oil will help control overwintering insect populations by coating the insects’ spiracles, effectively smothering future larvae. Best of all, the oils are less toxic to beneficial insects, such as lady bugs, as well as birds and mammals.

    Applying dormant oil will help to keep your trees and shrubs healthy and give you a head start on insect management in the spring.

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