When should you cut back trees and shrubs?

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There are a lot of things you will have to do when you want to grow a tree and to keep it healthy. In tree keeping, you should be prepared to put in time, effort, as well as expect to spend a bit of money to make sure that your trees are getting what they need, such as water, sunlight, and nutrients.

One of the things you have to do is to regularly cut back your tree or shrub whenever necessary. This is also called "pruning,” which is the act of cutting parts of your tree or shrub that is no longer needed or are causing your plants harm. When your trees and shrubs are well-maintained, it will encourage them to grow more and have an even healthier appearance and structure.

When you are cutting back your shrub or tree, the timing of when you make your cut is very important for your plants’ overall wellbeing.

When is the best time to cut back trees and shrubs?

There is always the right time to do anything you have to in tree keeping. Just as it is important to know when you have to water your plants, taking the time to know the right time for pruning will be very beneficial for your tree or shrub.

There are many factors that can affect when you need to cut back your plants. Some of these are:





Your plant’s variety

Some plants may need more pruning compared to others. If you have a low maintenance shrub or tree, you may only need to cut them back once a year. For plants that require constant care, you may need to cut them back several times a year.

Your plant’s age

If your tree or shrub is newly planted, you may wait for at least a year or two before pruning. This is because they are still young and it will be too stressful for their system to experience getting cuts and wounds. It is recommended to wait until they have already established their roots and are medium-shaped depending on their variety.

Your location’s climate

If you live in a county that has two seasons such as wet and dry, it will be best to do it during dry seasons as wet seasons encourage the growth and spreading of various diseases.

However, if you live in a county that has four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall, it is generally recommended by experts to cut your plants in the late winter or early spring. This is because this is the time when your trees and shrubs go dormant to conserve energy. Cutting them at this time will also lessen the risk of infection and pests from making their way through the cut wounds of your plant.

The necessity of pruning

There are times when you will need to cut back trees and shrubs whenever necessary. When your plants have broken, damaged, and infected trees, the best thing to do is remove them as soon as possible. Waiting too long before pruning can endanger your shrub and tree and will put their health to risk. Also, if branches are damaged during storms and other calamities, cutting them back is absolutely needed as they can damage your property and your neighbors’ and can also cause injury to people passing by.

Tools you will need for pruning trees and shrubs

  1. Pruning shears – also called hand pruners, they are tools that can be held by one hand and is often used to cut thin branches and stems.
  2. Pruning saws – this tool looks like carpentry saws, they are used to cut branches that reach 5 inches in diameter.
  3. Loppers – this tool can cut branches up to 3 inches thick.
  4. Pole pruners – perfect for taller trees, this pruner is mainly used to prune areas that are hard to reach
  5. Chainsaws – this efficient equipment is used to cut off branches and trunks that are very thick in diameter, but can be very dangerous especially when used by people who have no experience.

Tips in pruning shrubs and trees properly

1. Most tree professionals such as arborists and horticulturists agree that the best way to prune both shrubs and trees during the dormant season which is in the late winter.

2. f your shrubs are the flower-bearing type, it would be beneficial to cut them back as soon as they flower. Doing this can be healthy for your plant and will encourage them to grow buds to be used in the next flowering season.





3. As much as possible, avoid cutting back your trees and shrubs during the fall season. This will make them susceptible to pests and disease and they will not be able to fight back as much when infected as they are too stressed in preparing for winter.

4. Do not hesitate to seek help from arborists. They are called the tree (and shrub) doctors for a reason. They will be able to help you with the proper pruning process.