Pruning Trees

When Is the Right Time to Prune Bushes, Plants, and Trees?

Many homeowners in the Chicago area go out to prune their bushes, plants, and trees once or twice each year – all at the same time – in order to save themselves time and keep growth under control. However, not all plants should be pruned and trimmed at the same time. Below, you can learn more about the best possible schedule for pruning based on the season. 

Why Are You Pruning?

The first step in choosing the right time to prune involves asking yourself why you are pruning in the first place. If you are pruning just to remove any dead wood or light pruning to help a shrub maintain its shape, you can do this any time of the year. Otherwise, the best time to prune depends almost entirely on the season, and this means you may find yourself doing your major pruning and trimming four times each year depending on the plants, bushes, and trees in your yard. 

Pruning in the Summer

If there are branches on a tree that you do not want, or if you want to help slow the growth of a particular branch, the goal should be to prune as soon as the seasonal growth is over. This means that if you are attempting to direct the growth of a tree, shrub, or other plant, you will want to do all of this in the summer. It’s also helpful to prune for corrective purposes during this season since problematic limbs are easier to spot. 

Pruning in the Winter

Almost all trees and shrubs are most likely to thrive when you opt to prune during the winter months. This is because the plant is dormant during winter. By taking the time to prune back your trees and shrubs while they are dormant, you will be able to achieve a huge growth spurt come spring. If this is what you’re after, then be sure to prune in the winter months. Experts agree that winter pruning sessions are best carried out once the coldest part of the season has passed – typically starting in March in the Chicagoland area. 

Enhancing Flowering Trees and Shrubs

Sometimes, homeowners prune their trees and shrubs in order to help enhance the color and number of flowers. If this is the case for you, be sure that you wait until the flowers have faded for the season. For example, if your plant flowers in mid or late summer, it would be ideal to wait until winter or even early spring to do your pruning. This way, you can be sure the last of the flowers have faded and the plant is in its dormant stage. 

When Not to Prune

Though it may be tempting to prune your trees, shrubs, and plants in the fall when the temperatures start to drop and the leaves begin to change, this is the one time of year during which you should avoid pruning at all costs. There are numerous fungi in and around the Chicago area that can cause decay, and their spores are everywhere during the fall months. When you prune, you essentially “wound” the plant, and this can open the door for infection. Wait until the cold has killed off the fungus to start pruning. 

Pruning can achieve numerous results, whether you want to enhance the rate of flowering, remove unwanted branches, or control the growth of a shrub, tree, or plant. Your pruning schedule can be quite complicated, but following the tips above is sure to help. You might also consider contacting a professional to handle all your pruning, trimming, and lawn-care needs.