In Idaho, it isn't uncommon for a yard to have a variety of trees. Some trees are decorative or offer shaded and others bear fruit. Most of these trees have in common that they need to be pruned.

When You Prune Your Trees Is Important

I learned about a decade ago that when you prune your trees is extremely important. My parents had a giant cherry tree in their backyard. It was easily 25 feet tall and loaded with cherries. My parents went on vacation for a week so my little brother and I decided that we would trim some of the branches. We knew my mom had wanted the tree to be pruned for quite a few years. So we started hacking off branches and got the tree looking much more manageable. Over the next few months before winter, the tree started looking sad. The leaves died earlier than any of the other trees in the yard. There were no new branches, blossom buds, or leaves the next spring. We had killed my mom’s 30-year-old cherry tree.

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We definitely pruned the tree too much anyway, but the fact that we did the trimming during the wrong time of the year was the nail in the coffin.

When Should You Prune Trees

Not all trees are the same as far as when you should prune them and how much you should prune, but for most trees right now is the best time to get them pruned and ready for spring growth. Especially fruit trees. Take the first early spring weekend when the weather isn’t in the single digits and cut some branches while the trees are dormant. The Idaho Tree Preservation recommends pruning happen when the tree is dormant. This gives the tree time to heal before spring and there are fewer insects and diseases active in the late winter and early spring.

Birch Tree Care also points out that pruning before the leaves grow lets you see better what you’re doing. That doesn’t mean you can’t trim a tree in the summer since those months are great for corrective pruning and getting rid of dead limbs. You’ll know the branch is dead if the rest of the tree has flowered or is covered in leaves.

Don’t Prune Your Trees In The Fall

Another thing most websites agree on is that you should never prune in the fall. Pruning in the fall opens your tree to a higher risk of decay and slow healing.

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