When is the Best Time of Year to Prune?

When You Should Trim Your Bushes

When your natural outdoor spaces start looking shaggy, some pruning and/or trimming is probably in order. But before you get out there with your shears or hire tree trimming services, consider whether it’s the right time to perform this task. Indeed, certain times of the year present more optimal conditions for pruning trees and shrubs. Pruning during a less optimal season is more than just a hassle — it can have detrimental effects on your foliage, lawn, and potentially your property.

So, when is the best time of year to prune? Generally speaking, late winter through early spring. Of course, the “best time” to prune somewhat depends on what you’re pruning, so the answer isn’t so cut and dry (no pun intended).

What to Consider About Pruning

What are You Pruning?

Different types of trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. exhibit different growth patterns, and these growth patterns largely determine when it’s a good time to prune them. 

For instance, hydrangeas typically bloom in the middle of spring, so it’s best to prune these shrubs earlier in the summer. Pruning them in the winter or spring will result in removing flower buds. Evergreen shrubs, on the other hand, should be pruned earlier, sometime in March or April, and deciduous trees should be pruned earlier still (February or March).

We won’t list every type of tree or shrub here, but the bottom line is that the optimal pruning time will hinge on what’s being pruned. Seek advice from professional tree pruners to get a more concrete answer for your scenario.

Why Prune in Late Winter/Early Spring?

For the vast majority of trees and shrubs, late winter through early spring (February-April) presents the ideal window for pruning. This might be surprising to some. After all, your trees might barely be budding in February, March, or even at the start of April. Indeed, this is exactly why this time of year is the best to trim your trees. 

While your trees and shrubs are still relatively bare, you or your professional pruners can gain a clearer picture of their structure, direction of growth, condition/health, etc. Additionally, most trees and shrubs are dormant during this time of year, just getting ready to start growing with the warmer weather. With all of this in mind, late winter/early spring presents the best opportunity to shape your trees and direct their new growth.

Benefits of Proper Pruning

Pruning your trees and shrubs at the right time isn’t just a matter of enhancing your lawn’s appearance in the short-term. Proper tree pruning yields other benefits as well. First, keeping your shrubs and trees well-kempt is good for their long-term health. Secondly, reducing the expanse of your trees and shrubs helps keep your lawn healthy, too, as this allows it to receive more water and sunlight. And, perhaps most importantly, trimming and pruning your trees helps ensure that large branches and limbs don’t scrape or fall on your property during high winds.

Is it Too Late to Prune Your Trees and Shrubs?

Now that we’re well into April, you might wonder if it’s too late to have your trees and shrubs pruned. The answer is: no! While we’re exiting the peak pruning season for most types of trees, there is still time to get this important task done before spring comes into full force. At the very least, here at The Parke Company, we can inspect your trees, shrubs, and lawn any time and let you know everything we can do for your property. Give us a call today at 615-350-6033.