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 April 5, 2017 >Hi there, Diane. We wish we could help trim your two rows of arborvitae, but unfortunately, Davey Tree doesn't provide residential tree service in your neck of the woods. Instead, here's some advice on how to hire a safe, qualified tree care provider: blog.davey.com/2016/04/the-3-step-guide-to-choosing-a-safe-tree-service/. Hope this helps, Diane.
  • Diane Collins April 5, 2017 >I have two rows of arborvite which I would like cut back and trimmed toa neat hedge.
  • The Tree Doctor February 28, 2017 >Hi Rosanne. Thanks for reaching out to us to prune the two European Hornbeams we planted for you! I've passed along your request for a pruning estimate to your local office. They should be reaching out soon with more info. If you'd rather, you can contact them directly at 724.703.1454 or davey.com/local-offices/east-pittsburgh-tree-service/#main-form. Either way, talk more soon, Rosanne.
  • Rosanne Donnelly February 28, 2017 >Please call me at 412-559-7265 to give me a price on pruning the tops of the two European Hornbeams you planted a few years ago. The tops never grew in, and I would like them rounded off before they start to come in, but would like an estimate before you do so. Thank you.
  • 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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