Tree Pruning Guide by Season
With these mild January temperatures, are you looking longingly at your garden gloves? Do you find yourself staring closely at the trees in your yard, checking for those early buds? We understand. Portland’s Christmas Eve snow at the end of 2017 seems a long time ago. Unfortunately, weather experts are predicting we’ll have four more encounters with snow before spring arrives, so it’s still too early to start making a lot of changes to your landscaping. You can make the most of your time indoors by mapping out a Portland tree pruning calendar.
We’ve outlined a seasonal plan as a guideline for you, but remember — pruning should be timed with the tree’s cycle, not just the season. If a tree flowers later than expected, or a branch breaks mid-summer, adjust your tree pruning schedule accordingly.
We’ve mentioned before that pruning trees while they’re dormant is less stressful for the trees. While dormant, trees have root and energy reserves to heal pruning cuts. Diseases and insects that could invade a pruned tree are also dormant. Importantly, it’s easier to see damaged and diseased branches to trim, and to assess and change the overall shape of the tree in the winter when leaves have fallen. Popular Portland trees to prune in winter include the following:
- Narrowleaf evergreens (yew, juniper)
- Fruit trees like pear, cherry, apple and plum
Early Spring Pruning
Pruning in spring is an active time for both you and your trees. As the weather warms, but before buds appear, you can prune these trees:
- Smoke Tree
- Pussy Willow
Late Spring / Early Summer Pruning
Before the end of June is best the time to prune spring flowering trees>. Try to prune soon after the blooms fade. The current blooms developed during the prior season and wintered in the bud. Pruning shortly after flowering will let the tree get to work on next year’s blooms. Trees to prune in late spring to early summer include:
If you see water suckers and sprouts emerging on your trees, try to clip them during the months of May and June. This will minimize nutrient loss from the main trunk.
Although tree pruning in late summer isn’t optimal, you can prune for corrective purposes, removing defective branches or those that hang down too far. Summer pruning can also be done to direct or slow tree growth.
Tree Pruning in Fall
When the days start to get shorter and the air cools, we start preparing for the winter ahead. We clean up the yard, mow the grass one last time, and add winter fertilizer to the lawn. It’s tempting to pick up the pruning shears and just trim a tree branch or two. But please, don’t do it. Pruning certain trees before winter, particularly evergreens, weakens them, making them more susceptible to disease when cold sets in. If you do need to prune evergreens, time it no later than mid-summer.
Portland tree pruning services
Our list doesn’t include all species of trees growing in Portland, but call Inexpensive Tree Care for professional tree pruning services or any questions you may have about timing for pruning the trees in your yard. As winter recedes, our team is here to help you get your trees ready for a healthy year, and we’ll help you care for your trees throughout the seasons.