Questions and Answers about General Tree Care

Question:
When is the best time to prune shrubs and trees--spring vs. fall?

Answer:
Choosing the best time to prune a tree or shrub depends of the variety. As a general rule, trees and shrubs should be pruned when they are dormant in the late fall or winter. Spring flowering shrubs should be pruned after they have finished flowering.

back to top

Question:
I am going to trim my trees and am wondering where to cut the branches. It looks like in the past they were lopped off behind where the branches of new growth come out. Can I trim them beyond the previous trimmed new growth branches or where they have forked?

Answer:
You may find some helpful information in our article on pruning mature trees.

It should be fine to prune beyond the previously trimmed new growth. As mentioned in the article, the best idea is to thin out the branches instead of doing any drastic pruning. It is best to cut branches back to their point of origination (cutting outside the shoulder ring). If the branches are large, make several cuts to make the cut less stressful on the tree and reduce the risk of bark tearing.

Always follow the one-third rule, and never cut off more than one-third of the growth in one growing season.

back to top

Back to Subject List