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Curious about pruning your trees in the summer? Learn the do's and don'ts of summer pruning.

Can You Prune or Cut Tree Limbs in Summer?

July 26, 2018

In the summer, your landscape to-do list is always spilling onto another page. From mowing to watering, you’re busy enough!

But now that you spotted a precarious tree limb in your garden, you’re wondering if, perhaps, you should trim now… 

Usually, it’s best to prune trees in the dormant season when they don’t have any leaves. But as with any rule, there are always exceptions. Discover what they are below.  

Can I cut trees in the summer? 

You probably want to hold off on heavily pruning trees now–unless it’s a fruit tree or poses a safety risk. But removing a few small branches should be A-OK as you long as you do it the right way.  

Why shouldn't you heavily prune trees in summer? 

If you prune to excess in summer, next year, your trees may not be as full. Summer pruning takes away from the tree's total number of leaves, and fewer leaves mean less food flowing throughout the tree  for next year's growth.  

Plus, summer is prime time for pests and diseases. A tree with open pruning wounds may be extra vulnerable to certain diseases.That’s especially for oak trees! If possible, you should not prune oak trees at all during the summer to reduce the chance of oak wilt, which is a potentially fatal disease. If you must prune (usually for safety reasons), paint the pruning cuts to make them less attractive to oak wilt-carrying beetles.

Are there any trees you can prune in summer?

  • Fruit trees: A small trim won't harm fruit trees, but it can reduce the amount of fruit they grow.   
  • Evergreen trees: You can do some light trimming in the summer but save the major pruning for the dormant season. 
  • Sappy hardwoods: You can prune maple, walnut and birch trees. Some people prefer a summertime prune for these trees because they typically ooze sap when pruned in winter.  
  • Trees with deadwood: If you spot dead or dying limbs, you can remove those at any time.

When is summer pruning good for trees? 

Here’s when you can trim other trees in summer: 

  • If your tree has broken, hanging or otherwise weak branches, you should alwaysdeal with these problemASAP. 
  • Your tree has an odd shape. Minor cuts are OK to make now, but hold off on any large-scale pruning jobs. 
  • The tree is getting too large, and youwantto attempt to reduce its growth for next season.

Need to trim your tree now? Click here for a free pruning quote. 

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