What Time of Year Should I Prune my Trees in Vancouver?

What Time of Year Should I Prune my Trees in Vancouver?

Pruning is performed for a multitude of reasons. Pruning can be done for the health of the plant, when dying, diseased or weak branches are removed allowing more air and light flow through the canopy or foliage. Pruning can also help to control the size of a plant or tree as well as the ability to manipulate yields of flowers or fruits. But when should you prune in Vancouver, BC? This depends on what species you are pruning and what goals you have for the plant. Here are some simple guidelines for when to prune your trees in Vancouver.

Deciduous Trees (Trees that shed their leaves annually) :

In regards to pruning deciduous trees, with few exceptions, the ideal time is late winter or early spring just before growth begins. If you cannot bring yourself to sacrifice any blossoms from your flowering trees, then prune them just after the flowers fade; Which with most ornamental, deciduous, flowering trees is not long after growth begins. Additionally, wounds heal more quickly when new growth has begun. Avoid pruning late in summer or in autumn. Pruning late in summer can stimulate succulent growth that cannot harden before cold weather arrives. Wounds made in autumn heal poorly, and many fungi are then produced spreading their disease-producing spores.

Conifer Trees (Cone bearing trees, also known as evergreens):

Conifer trees are the most forgiving with regards to pruning. The most common conifers we see here in North Vancouver, Burnaby and Vancouver are Cedar, Hemlock, Pine, Spruce, Cypress and Fir. These trees are typically pruned to let in light (crown thinning), create clearance for structures, walkways, driveways or objects on the ground (crown raising) or to remove dead, dying or diseased limbs (crown cleaning). These forms of pruning can be done all year round. However, pruning during dormancy is the most common practice resulting in vigorous spring growth. There are some exceptions; For instance you may not want vigorous growth in spring if your goal is to keep the size of a tree within a specific range. In this case, it may be best to have maintenance pruning of your conifer tree done during the summer as this will result in less vigorous new growth and help keep your tree within your desired size range.

With these guidelines in place and with your goals in mind, if possible, avoid pruning evergreen trees in the late summer and early fall. Pruning during this time can stimulate new growth that may not have time to harden off before winter, and as a result, may be damaged or killed by the cold weather. However, this does not usually occur in Vancouver.

Safety first:

Pruning trees and shrubs can be quite enjoyable which can easily lead to one getting carried away and doing more harm than good. This can happen if proper pruning techniques are not utilized or if a tree or shrub is over pruned. Even more important than the safety and well being of your trees and shrubs is your own personal safety. Pruning can be very tricky and sometimes even dangerous. Branches may look a lot smaller from the ground than they do once you are up in the tree, and it does not take a very large branch to cause bodily harm or property damage. If you require a ladder to reach branches that need pruning, it may be a good time to consider hiring a professional arborist or local tree service. Tree services and arborists utilize specialized equipment and advanced pruning techniques to safely prune your trees or shrubs while minimizing the stress or harm imposed on the tree.

Considering hiring a tree service or arborist? Here are some quick tips to consider when hiring a tree service or arborist.

Whether you need your tree pruned right now or simply want to get some advice, ArborGreen Tree Care Specialists is here to help! Call today for a free consultation or to schedule an estimate. We are always happy to talk trees!

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