Tree Pruning - What is the best time of year?
Why Prune your Tree?
In terms of what the tree needs there are not many situations in which tree pruning is necessary. That being said; in today's world, trees live in urban environments and come into conflict with people and property. Trees can grow to be some of the largest organisms on earth. For as much value as trees bring us they can also cause a nuisance by coming into contact with property, which can cause damage. Hanging low over roadways which can be dangerous and cause damage. Reduce light coming into people’s gardens and obstruct the perfect view. Therefore, pruning can be an essential practice to ensure a good healthy life for the tree and help the tree to add value to its surroundings. If a tree becomes a burden it usually ends with the removal of the tree.
Before you prune your tree
Forward planning is everything and in an ideal world starts before the tree is planted. Selecting the right tree for the right situation can prevent a lot of hassle and minimize the amount of pruning needed to be done.
This is not always possible, so, if you already have a tree the best advice is to act early. Formative pruning in the early stages of a trees life can prevent more severe pruning in later life. Getting advice from a professional tree surgeon (arborist) may help to prevent issues in the future.
Always check with your local council if your tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for more information on this check our (B) Log on TPO’s.
Factors that Influence Tree Pruning
Trees cannot ‘heal’ from pruning. Once a tree branch is cut off it cannot grow back. A tree can only seal the cut to prevent infection. Trees also take a long time to seal wounds which means from a fresh cut they are open to attack from disease.
“During the autumn months is when fungal pores are the most active, so it is important to try and avoid these months for tree pruning”
Just like us trees need energy, they get this via photosynthesis in which a tree creates energy from its leaves. Deciduous trees shed their leaves for their dormant period of the year, winter. During spring the tree must rely on its energy reserves to grow new leaves. This leaves the tree with a lower energy reserve until the tree can stock up again. Removing the trees energy producing branches when it has used a lot of energy producing new leaves at a time when it is using its energy reserves is not good for the tree. Therefore, pruning in spring should be avoided where possible to allow the tree time to stock up its energy reserves.
The best time of year to prune your tree is during winter. This is when the tree is least active and is less likely to come into contact with potential disease. Pruning can also occur in late summer as the tree has had chance to take advantage of its leaves and stock up its energy reserves for the winter. It is important not to leave to too late in order to avoid the fungal season.