How Often to Prune Your Trees | Blog | Front Range Arborists

How Often to Prune Your Trees

Your trees are an attractive enhancement to your landscape, providing shade, aesthetic appeal, and a natural habitat for birds and other wildlife.

To keep them looking healthy and beautiful, prune your trees to promote safe and productive growth, it is a necessary step on your landscaping to-do list.

Why do I need to prune my trees?

This is a fair question because trees grow in the forest just fine without any manicuring. But knowing that your goals for your trees are different than those in the wild may help you to better understand why it is important to prune your trees. Here are a few reasons:

Strengthen its roots
Trees with strong roots are better able to withstand the changing seasons and any harsh elements it may have to endure. Trees that are properly pruned are healthier and have more robust roots.

Be fruitful
Pruning encourages fruit production in a couple of ways. First, removing dead branches helps the tree to be healthier overall and more likely to produce fruit. Second, pruning promotes the growth of spurs, which will lead to more fruit the following season.

Improve safety
Dead limbs can be very dangerous because they can easily fall and cause damage to your property or injure someone. Additionally, any limbs—even healthy ones—that are hanging over your roof or an electrical line can be a hazard. It is important to rely on the professionals to remove any limbs that pose a safety hazard.

Keep it healthy
Trees get diseases, which can spread to other trees. By pruning away unhealthy branches, you are treating the tree and preventing the spread of disease.

Enhance its beauty
Clearing away dead and dying branches keep your trees looking healthy and gorgeous. You can improve the shape of the tree and enhance the overall look of your lawn and landscape by keeping your trees well-maintained.

When should I prune my trees?

Deciding when to prune your trees will depend on the reason you are pruning. Our season-by-season guide will help you make the right decision for your tree.

Spring pruning
Any pruning done in the spring should primarily promote flowering. For your spring-blooming trees, prune them after they have bloomed. Summer bloomers should be trimmed in the winter or early spring.

Summer pruning
There are three reasons to prune your trees in the summer:

  • Redirect the growth of the tree away from unwanted branches
  • Slow the growth of a branch or the tree, in general
  • Remove any damaged or flawed limbs
    These types of pruning should take place once the tree has achieved completion of its growth for the season.

Fall pruning
Because trees heal very slowly in the fall, people should stay away from pruning during this season.

Winter pruning
Winter is the most common time to prune because the tree is dormant. Typically, it is done once the coldest days of winter have passed and will encourage a spring growth spurt. Certain tree species that have been pruned may ooze sap in the late winter; but once the leaves come out, the sap will cease to flow.

How often should I prune my trees?

The frequency with which you prune your trees will depend on the age of the tree, as young trees have different needs than mature trees. Your pruning routine may help your new trees’ canopy reach their ultimate potential and keep your older trees looking their best.

Newly planted trees
New or recently planted trees will have greater pruning needs than mature trees. Immediately after planting, you will want to abstain from any pruning to allow it to build a large root system. Only as necessary should you remove broken branches and any branches that are enlarged from insect eggs or stings.

3-4 years
During this young time in a tree’s growth cycle, your pruning strategy should be to remove anything that is competing with the overall health of the tree. So, you can remove branches competing for nutrients, the lowest branches to help the trunk develop, and any root suckers. You can also take this opportunity to remove branches that, if left, will lead to an undesirably shaped tree.

5-7 years
Now you can remove lower limbs that are below your head height, cut back branches that may be causing an unattractive shape to the tree, and any others that will improve the overall appearance of the tree.

After 15 years
Your most mature trees should only need visual inspection each spring for dead or damaged limbs.

At Front Range Arborists, we know it can be tricky to know everything you need to know about why, when, and how to prune your trees. That’s why we provide a full range of tree services, including crown thinning, dead-wood removal, and structural pruning. Contact us for a free estimate so we can help keep your beautiful trees healthy, strong, and safe.

Find out more about how Front Range Arborists can help provide services to residential, commercial, and municipal institutions with all of our Tree Services: