The Q&A Archives: Pruning times for various trees

Question: I would like to know when is the best time to prune trees. I have a heavily wooded property dominated by old oak trees. I also have birches, maples, pines, elms and ash trees.

Answer: Late winter is the best time to prune these trees, since they'll be dormant and will bleed less sap (the exception, of course, being maples). Sap leakage isn't a real problem, though it does gum up your pruning tools and looks messy. It takes less time, too, since you won't have to work around thick foliage (except for the evergreens). Wounds will heal more quickly as spring growth begins. If you've never pruned trees before, you'll want to get pruning diagrams to learn the best techniques, which will keep your trees healthy and attractive for many years. Your extension serivce should have bulletins, and you can see some online images at Enjoy the woods!

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