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What’s the Best Time to Prune Flowering Trees & Shrubs?

New England is home to some of the most diverse and naturally beautiful types of trees across our country. From flowering Dogwoods, to towering Maples and blooming Cherry trees, we have quite the spectacular array of trees in our region. The species, size, and care of these trees varies so much that many homeowners are not aware of the best time to prune the trees they have right in their own backyard. 

Our Certified Arborists and Landscape Design Architects can help homeowners not only understand the trees and shrubs they have on their property, but also how and when to properly prune them for the results they desire. 

What is Pruning? 

Pruning a tree or shrub is the selective and careful removal of certain parts of a tree, plant, or shrub. Often when one thinks about pruning they think about removal of branches, roots, or even the buds. 

The whole purpose of this action is to help improve the health of the tree and encourage growth that may have been harmed by dead, infected, or storm-damaged branches. In general, pruning is meant to improve the aesthetic of the tree as well as the overall aesthetic of the landscaping. 

Pruning is slightly different from trimming in that pruning is done for the health of the tree or shrub, while trimming tends to be completed in order to shape and determine the size of a planting. 

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Pruning Timetable

The timing and frequency of pruning differs according to the plant, tree species, and your intended result. For instance, do you want to remove dead, diseased or damaged branches? Do you want to encourage growth? Or conversely, do you hope to dwarf the growth? 

All of these things must be taken into consideration when determining a pruning timetable. Check out our article regarding pruning for shade trees, ornamental trees, and shrubs

Spring pruning is aimed at improving flowering trees and shrubs. Spring is also a good time to remove any branches that may have been damaged during fall or winter storms. It’s a great time for an arborist to examine the tree for any decay or potential pest issues. 

Our arborists suggest that an ideal time to prune spring blooming trees is right after the bloom or show. This way gardeners or homeowners can visually enjoy the early blooms and then take care of the pruning. This particular timing gives the tree a chance to initiate new buds for the next season. 

Some examples of spring blooming trees and shrubs include: Dogwood trees, Forsythia bushes, Rhododendron, Maple trees, Cherry trees, and Lilacs. All beautiful additions to any landscaping, but all need annual care. Regular pruning can not only help the health of these trees and shrubs, but also improve their shape for the growing season. 

The amount of pruning needed is determined by the current condition of the tree or shrub. For instance, if the planting is fairly overgrown or has lost its shape, more serious pruning may need to take place in order to rejuvenate the tree. 

A Final Word

Spring is the busy season for pruning flowering trees and shrubs. While pruning can, and does, take place throughout the year on many different species of trees, this is the best time to get started reclaiming the health and overall aesthetic of the trees and shrubs in your yard. 

 

 

 

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