Choosing when to prune or trim a tree is an important determination. Not all trees are the same, just like not all shrubs and bushes are the same — you don’t want to trim off next year’s blooms when hacking and slashing at your tree! While this infographic doesn’t include all species of trees, we hope it helps you to make a general determination on when to prune or trim a tree.
Here are some specific trees you should prune at certain times:
Apple trees should be pruned in late winter, prior to new spring growth. If you must, apple trees can also be pruned in the spring or summer, but should be avoided in the fall so new growth is not stimulated when the tree should be preparing for winter.
Evergreens are a little different from deciduous trees, because they seem to have green, lush growth all the time. However, if you need to trim back an evergreen tree, you should opt to do so when the tree is dormant, which is usually in the early spring, or when it’s semi-dormant in mid-summer.
Magnolias are a little different, given their lush flowers. They should be trimmed mid summer or early fall, unlike most other trees that should be trimmed late winter. When pruning a magnolia, try to prune “too little” rather than “too much”.
Like the apple tree, the best time to prune a maple tree is late winter or early spring. Maple trees are forgiving, however, so you can remove dead or unwanted branches any time during the spring or summer as well.
Unlike maple trees, oak trees prefer to be trimmed or pruned between the late fall and early spring — plenty of time to remove old, dead, and unwanted branches. Especially take care for young oaks because trimming outside these time periods may leave your oak susceptible to disease or infection.