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Stein Offers a Tree and Shrub Trimming and Pruning Guide

By Stein Tree
Posted on April 6, 2023

Spring is here again. In fact, you may have seen some buds on trees already. However, you may wonder if you have waited too late to get your trees trimmed and pruned. Though dormancy is generally the best time to trim and prune trees and shrubs to avoid wounding a growing tree, exceptions exist. And an arborist can tell you when is the best time for your particular trees and whether trimming outside that window will harm them. Most trees can handle light trimming at any time of year. However, significant tree and shrub trimming and pruning should be done with care. Below is a tree and shrub trimming and pruning guide.

Difference Between Trimming & Pruning

Understanding what these terms mean to determine whether your trees need trimming or pruning is essential. Pruning is removing dead or damaged branches and thinning out too thick or crowded branches. Trimming is a similar practice but involves cutting back stems to improve the appearance of a plant to encourage healthy growth.

When Should Your Trees Be Trimmed?

Tree worker in bucket lift |tree trimming and pruning guide | Stein Tree Service

Some trees vary from the norm when optimal pruning times occur in the year. The recommended time to prune can also change based on why you are pruning. For example, if you want a tree pruned to encourage the flowering of the tree, you will want to wait until the flowers disappear.

On the other hand, if you have trees that produce flowers in the summer, you will want to do the pruning in winter or possibly early spring. Stein offers a guide that may help when you are trying to determine a pruning schedule.

Trees and Shrubs That Should Be Pruned During Dormancy

Some Pennsylvania and Delaware trees or shrubs that ideally one should prune during winter dormancy (so that the tree or shrub is not disturbed during the growing season) for best results are:

  • Walnut Trees bleed sap excessively during non-dormant periods.
  • Oak Trees can get a disease called oak wilt, which insects may carry into open tree wounds.
  • Maple Trees tend to bleed sap when their dormant period is over.
  • Fruit Trees can get a disease called fireblight, which is bacterial. Pruning in winter will make the problem less likely.
  • Hemlock should be pruned in late winter, but spring or early summer pruning may be necessary.

Trees and Shrubs That Should Be Pruned After Flowering

As mentioned, pruning certain trees and shrubs as soon as the flowering period is over, but no sooner, is ideal. If pruned too late, these species of trees and shrubs may fail to flower the following year. Some examples are:

  • Forsythia
  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Rhododendron
  • Lilac
  • Redbud

Holly, the Delaware state tree, is one shrub whose branches an arborist can prune in winter or spring. However, if having many berries is important to you, you will want to wait until the berries are already forming before pruning.

Some trees and shrubs that are ideal for spring pruning include:

  • Smooth hydrangea
  • Roses (non-climbing)
  • Wisteria
  • Clematis

Dead, Broken, & Diseased Branches

One of the most common reasons to prune trees is to remove tree branches that are dead, broken, or diseased. Dead branches have lost their leaves and appear brown or dry. In addition, dead branches are brittle and may snap off during strong winds. Broken branches also have this issue of snapping off and potentially injuring or damaging people and property.

On the other hand, diseased branches carry the risk of spreading a disease throughout the rest of the tree. As a result, removing dead or dying branches is vital, and properly pruning requires an arborist’s knowledge and experience.

Stein Tree Service Offers Residential and Commercial Tree and Shrub Trimming and Pruning

Home and business owners in Pennsylvania and Delaware often call Stein for annual tree and shrub trimming, pruning, and other tree care services. In addition, much of our business comes from word of mouth, and we strive to provide exemplary care for trees that residents can count on. To learn more, get expert insight on our tree and shrub trimming and pruning guide, or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.

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