No, it isn’t the fall. (Shocker, right?)

Many believe that fall is the time to trim trees because of the way limbs look once their leaves have fallen. However, doing so can damage or even kill your trees (especially if older).

When to Prune, by Tree Type

Most regular pruning is done to eliminate infestation, frail, dead, or diseased branches, and can be done at any point during the year with barely any effect on the tree. Pruners should know as a rule, growth and wound closure are intensified if pruning occurs in late winter before a spring growth spurt.

The wounds from pruning can disperse diseases. Oak trees, for example, can experience oak wilt. Each cut can change the way a tree grows. So, no branch should be cut without a clear reason. Strive for branch collar cuts when pruning.

Homeowners remove dead branches to make the tree look better and grow stronger. They also prune hazardous branches which could fall on someone or the roof during a thunderstorm. Shaping trees can also enhance light diffusion and airflow to the tree’s crown or to someone’s home or landscape.

Here are a few different types of trees and the best time of year to trim a tree:


These are the trees that shed their leaves each year. Most deciduous trees should be pruned in late fall to winter. They have entered their dormant season and it’s easy then to see the framework of the branches, and the activity of insects and disease are gone.

Young Trees

Developing a strong and good-shaped tree happens with proper pruning. Trees that receive the right amount of pruning while they are young will need less excessive trimming as they grow older. Ask your professionals when the trimming should be done depending on your area of the country.

New Trees

  1. Inspect for pruning needs annually.

2. Prune trees regularly throughout their life to keep them healthy, safe, and aesthetically pleasing.

3. Do not defer pruning until limbs get large. Large limbs equal large wounds, which are more difficult for a tree to seal and leave the tree open to disease, insects, and rot.

4. Do not attempt to chop the tops off trees to reduce their size as a substitute for proper tree selection and placement. This practice, called topping, can truly hurt your trees.