News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
You’ve probably heard that you should prune your trees in the fall, before the first freeze. In fact, one of the most common myths of pruning is that all trees should be pruned just before winter. But the truth is, fall may actually be the worst time of year to prune!
So what is the best time to prune? That depends on what kind of pruning you want to do. Sometimes, the best time to prune a tree is in the dead of winter, or in the middle of summer, or even early spring, like it is now.
What is Pruning?
Crown thinning, on the other hand, is used to create more space between branches. This gives them more room to grow, reduces the risk of any branch getting crowded out of sunlight, and also prevents branches from damaging each other from repeated contact and friction.
Why is Fall Pruning Bad?
The myth that the best time to prune is in the fall comes from the idea that you should prune a tree while it’s dormant. That line of thinking is actually correct – pruning a tree while it’s “asleep” for the winter encourages new growth come springtime. The important distinction here is that you want to prune only after a tree has gone dormant for the winter, never before.
Pruning live growth (which just means pruning away branches that are still alive and healthy), while good for the tree in the long run, does create “wounds” where you cut away branches or parts of branches. In the fall, your tree is winding down in preparation for winter. During this time, it won’t have the energy to seal those wounds.
In the cold, winter months, this isn’t a problem, because the low temperatures discourage rot and decay. Most pests and fungi are also dormant for the winter, so they aren’t likely to infect a tree through an open wound.
Basically, pruning in the fall is leaving your wounded tree vulnerable to infections and infestations that may actually kill it.
The rule of thumb when it comes to pruning in winter is to wait until after the coldest days have passed. For the Athens area, the coldest part of winter is in January, which makes the best time to prune in winter mid- to late-February.
Winter isn’t the only time you can prune live growth, though. If you’re looking to redirect some growth, then late spring or early summer is the best time to do it. Redirecting growth basically just means if you want to encourage your tree to grow in a different direction – like say, away from the powerlines or your roof. Redirecting can also refer to if you want to encourage a specific leader on a tree with more than one.
Flowering Tree Pruning
If you have a tree that you want to prune, or a tree you think needs pruning, but you aren’t sure where to start, when to start, or what to do, feel free to give Classic City Arborists a call! We offer free estimates, and will send our certified arborist to look at your tree and give his professional recommendation, as well as get you a quote for how much it would cost for us to do the work for you.
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.