When to trim or prune your trees

Instead of thinking of trees as an object meant to look good, it’s best to think of them as pets: pets that need love and care in order to stay healthy and feel good. Yes, trees can feel (in their own special way), so you’d do well to exercise care when handling them using sharp objects.

Trimming and pruning trees can be a major concern for property owners. It’s a procedure that can either help tremendously or outright kill a tree, depending on how informed you are and how careful you are with the cutting. Don’t worry – read on to find out when and how to prune your trees.

Get them while they’re sleeping – prune your trees

Sneaky as it sounds, that’s exactly when you should prune your trees – when they’re asleep (or ‘dormant’, as might be the more technical term). Trees go to sleep when outside conditions get unbearably cold for them – usually around October – and wake from their slumber around May.

The first important thing to note is that not all trees sleep equally as long – some will go dormant sooner and some later, while others will wake much sooner than their cousins. It’s important to know the exact type of tree you’ll be cutting before grabbing hold of the shears: your city’s website will usually have information on tree sleep cycles, but you might have to find out the trees’ type on your own, either through research or by consulting a professional.

When trees are trimmed during dormancy, they suffer considerably less stress than when awake and growing. That being said, you can still damage or maim a tree with irresponsible pruning, so be sure to gauge the appropriate amount to cut. Remember: it’s not about making them look better, but rather helping them flourish and avoid disease as well as preventing damage to nearby objects and structures (and even people).

Speaking of disease, a tree getting sick can be another cause for pruning ahead of schedule. If you fear that a sickness might kill your tree and it’s one that started from the branches rather than the trunk, timely pruning might yield results and even save the tree from death – again, you should still consult an arborist before making any impromptu cuts.

Another argument for cutting trees during the winter season (and sometimes late autumn) is that dormant trees won’t leak sap when dismembered. In case you haven’t noticed, pests feast on sap and will jump at the opportunity to infest your tree if they think it might be nutritious. Just because you can’t see any pests in the area doesn’t mean that it’s okay to cause sap leakage – pests can travel an astounding distance on their way to sustenance. Needless to say, once infested, a tree is very difficult to bring back to health and will most likely have to be cut down out of mercy and for the safety of people and animals around it.

If all this sounds like too much to handle, know that there’s no shame in putting down the shears and calling a professional to do the job for you – if anything, it shows you’re a responsible and level-headed individual.