Did you know that pruning in the fall can actually harm your trees? Many homeowners think that the best time to start trimming back branches is when the weather is still warm, and the leaves start to change. But in reality, the right time to start is either in the winter or in early spring while the trees are still dormant. Take it from our professional arborists –it’s best to wait if you want them to survive through the winter and look their best in the summer. So, before you consider adding trimming to your fall maintenance list, take this bit of advice from our experts as they explain some of the reasons why you should always avoid pruning in the fall.
Avoids the Spread of Disease
Fall weather is often damp and wet, which is the perfect condition for disease to thrive in. Damp weather also encourages the growth of microbes and both bacterial and fungal diseases which can quickly start to spread when you prune. If you trim the trees in the fall, the ‘tree wounds’ close slowly, creating the perfect environment for disease to enter and cause ample damage. It’s best to wait until the tree is completely dry and the sun is shining – even in the winter and springtime, before trimming.
Won’t Stimulate New Growth
In the fall, plants are just beginning to go dormant for the winter. So, if you start trimming away at them now, it will interrupt that process, stimulating new growth, which can severely weaken its level of resiliency, strength, and survival once the cold weather arrives. The end result will require more pruning in the spring to remove any damaged or dead branches.
Can Identify Problems More Easily
It is much easier to identify disease and pests when the leaves have completely fallen off and the trees have gone dormant. Also, waiting until the trees have lost all of their leaves by November makes it easier to see what you’re pruning without the foliage getting in the way.
Pruning Wounds are Less Obvious
During those cold spells in the wintertime, the trees are using all of their energy to focus on sustaining their roots. So, if you cut branches during the fall, the trees won’t have time to heal which will cause noticeable, unsightly looking wounds to form. Waiting till early spring to trim is often the best time since any pruning wounds will be easily hidden by the spring growth.
Better for Transplanting
We all know that transplanting is best done in the springtime. However, few people know that you can help to better prepare trees to accept a new location by trimming the roots in the late fall. This will stimulate new feeder root growth at the cuts, reducing shock and encouraging nutrient uptake.
There are some exceptions to the rules, of course. If a tree is dead, heavily diseased or has branches that are likely to fall, trimming and removal should be done immediately. But leave the removal of healthy limbs to the middle of winter when the tree is dormant, or in the spring when active growth has started.
If you need help taking care of your trees or have a limb that’s too big to handle on your own, contact us at CedarSmith. We offer a wide range of professional hedge and tree trimming services at competitive rates. Our fully trained and insured professionals will repair and enhance the life and look of your trees and hedges, so you don’t have to! Reach out today to learn more about our services and how we can help you with all your tree care needs!