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When Is The Best Time To Prune Trees?

When a tree has outgrown its space, it is important to keep it in shape and reduce its size. This can be hard work, but can be essential to keep the look of your garden as smart as possible. If your tree is likely to overhang into your neighbour’s garden, they may want you to keep the branches in order.

The decision on when to trim your tree really depends on your desired objectives. Light pruning and the removal of dead branches can be done at any point during the year, for anything more substantial here are our top trimming tips:

Pole saw attachment

Safety first

If you need to trim back a tree it is important to be honest with yourself about any safety concerns. Especially if you are requiring a ladder to get to hard-to-reach areas that need high powered machinery to cut down. You may be put off hiring a professional arborist but this cost is nothing in comparison to the potential dangers that arise from working with chainsaws at difficult angles. It is never recommended to work it a chainsaw when using a ladder.

Winter pruning

Typically cutting in winter is better for the tree as it is usually in its dormant phase. Strictly speaking taking leaves off the tree isn’t ideal, as the tree needs them for food as part of the photosynthesis process and by wintertime the leaves will have fallen off.

Cutting back the tree is most commonplace in winter, especially for deciduous trees as it can usually result in a hearty burst of growth in the springtime when the weather heats up. It is not advised to prune the trees when the weather is at its coldest as some trees like walnuts, birches and maple can ‘bleed’ when the sap begins to flow out of the tree. This isn’t harmful to the tree but it can look ungainly. The tree will find it easier to heal when it isn’t too cold. There is a fine balance therefore to be struck between the coldest parts of winter and the period before spring hits and the trees wake up again.

You should also be wary of certain species of trees as some can develop diseases if you prune them at the wrong time. Cherry, apple, plum or apricot trees are easily susceptible to what is called “Silver Leaf Disease’, which is primarily caused by pruning. When in doubt you should always check the species before you trim. For these specific tree species, to avoid silver leaf, it's safer to prune when the weather heats up.

Spring and summer pruning

In the summer months the growth will be at it’s highest so you may want to direct the growth in the right direction. A little bit of selective pruning can help keep the growth going where it needs by cutting the branches you don't want. At this time of year any defective limbs can be identified much easier so this is a good time to remove them to keep the overall health of the tree much stronger.

Some plants can really benefit from some selective pruning in spring as it can enhance flowering. For plants that flower in spring you can cut them back once the flowers fade. This will encourage growth in the right direction in future.

When not to prune your tree

It is not really recommended to do much pruning during the autumn time, as this is the time when trees are going to be amongst their most vulnerable from fungus spores. Trees will not be able to heal as fast as it might during the summer months so it is probably best to keep your tools in the shed for a few months.

CS 42S
Cylinder displacement 42 cm³
Bar length (inch) 16 in
Weight (excl. cutting equipment) 5.2 kg
CS 50S
Cylinder displacement 50.2 cm³
Bar length (inch) 18 in
Weight (excl. cutting equipment) 5.9 kg