The Q&A Archives: When to Prune Trees

Question: I am landscape chairman of our condo in Sun Valley (where it can be very cold in the winter). I have been told that many of our trees MUST be pruned within the next year. Should this be done in the spring or the fall? The trees are aspens, ornamentals, fruit, and a small assortment of other trees.

Answer: The best time to prune most trees in cold regions is late winter/early spring, just as buds are beginning to swell. Pruning in the fall can stimulate new growth, just when the trees need to be settling in to their dormant phase in preparation for winter.Plan to prune apple and pear trees and aspen in March or so. <br><br>There are exceptions to this rule, however. Dogwoods and beech trees should be pruned in the fall. Ornamentals that produce their flower buds on old wood, such as certain hydrangeas andmagnolias, should be pruned just after flowering. If you prune them in early spring, you'll remove the flower buds. Prune flowering cherries after flowering. Consult a pruning manual (your local library or bookstore's gardening section should have some reference books) about each species. And consider calling a professional arborist for any large tree work.<br>

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