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  • Writer's pictureRussell Fey

To Prune Or Not To Prune - When To Trim Your Trees

As seasons change, we are lucky to behold the glory and splendor of our trees and their foliage. Through budding, growth, and shedding of leaves, we see which trees flourish naturally, and we see those that need pruning to thrive.

The importance of pruning trees

Tree limbs can be pruned for many reasons, and this trimming results in a better-looking, healthier tree. Routine care and maintenance allow for optimal growth and health; opening up a canopy and removing dead branches help light and air to reach leaves, helping to facilitate and encourage growth.

Landscape maintenance and regular pruning will create the perfect tree, something that adds value to your home and property. Adhering to specific techniques will encourage flowering and fruiting, shaping trees into unique forms and controlling plant size.

When should I prune my tree?

When considering the right time to prune, one should consider both the time of year and the age of your tree. Age dictates the type of pruning that can be done, as well as specific cuts that will optimize tree growth.

Winter is the perfect time to prune a tree, as its dormancy allows for more efficient healing, preparing it for additional growth in the spring. Seasonal timing also helps to facilitate easier pruning. In general, spring and fall should be avoided, as they are times when trees are busy with other processes such as budding and shedding of leaves.

Young saplings are easier to prune than established trees; their healing process is more efficient, and they are more resistant to disease and infestation that can take root if a tree is pruned improperly. If you have any questions about the trees on your property, ask a trained arborist about the process and how to optimize health and growth.

Tree pruning methods

Without a healthy and robust crown, your tree will weaken and atrophy over time. Most pruning methods involve thinning out and shaping the crown to optimize the receipt of light and air.

  1. Thinning–Thinning is the removal of specific live branches to reduce a tree’s overall density. It is most commonly performed on mature trees, reducing stress and weight on established limbs. The goal of thinning is not to change the size or shape of the tree, so branch removal should be consistent throughout the crown. If a tree is properly thinned, there should be no visible difference to its canopy.

  2. Crown raising Crown raising involves lifting bottom tree limbs to make way for traffic, buildings, or a better view. Removing too many bottom limbs can weaken a tree’s structure, so raising should be done gradually.

  3. Crown reduction–Crown reduction removes a tree branch back to a thriving lateral branch. It is a gentler way of tree topping; smaller cuts are made, and more of the overall tree remains to strengthen its structure.

  4. Cleaning–Cleaning removes dead and diseased branches from the tree’s crown. Cleaning prevents future damage to a tree and increases its safety and the integrity of your landscape.

Consider choosing a professional

Pruning can be dangerous; specialized tools, ladders, and safety equipment are necessary to ensure that the job is done correctly. A trained arborist can safely assess, plan and carry out pruning techniques to ensure that your trees remain healthy, and your property is safe for pets and loved ones. Sarasota Tree Service professionals are committed to performing all landscape and tree care work with utmost integrity and care. No job is too big, no job is too small. Contact us today for all of your tree care needs; visit for more information.

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