The Best Time To Prune…Is Now!

Pruning_Evergreen

It’s hardly on the minds of most with trees or shrubs of any kind.  Not in the dead of winter.

But for the growing number of people who plant fruit trees, or even flowering crab apples, as a landscaping complement, those trees (and some shrubs) need periodic pruning – thinning!  And guess when the best time of year is to do that?  It’s now!

Yes, now in the dead of winter is the best time to prune almost any deciduous (leaf bearing) tree, because the sap is down, the leaves are off…and it’s just easier to see and gauge what needs to be taken out.

Left alone for too long fruit trees grow too thick and too big for either looks, or efficient production.

Left alone for too long fruit trees grow too thick and too big for either looks, or efficient production.

Compare a pruned tree to the one pictured to the right.  Better shape, easier to work around, and easier to maintain.

Compare a pruned tree to the one pictured to the right. Better shape, easier to work around, and easier to maintain.

Pruning is important, first of all, to maintain shape and size (see photo of above of a three-year-old apple).  Most people don’t want a 30-foot crab apple in their yard.  They’re unsightly, they’re hard to mow around, and left alone for too long they just become a mess!

And for that growing number who plant fruit trees, apples, peaches, cherries and pears, periodic thinning means not only a better-shaped tree, but better and bigger fruit, as well.

There’s an old adage that the best time to prune is anytime you have a sharp knife in your pocket.  And to some extent that’s true.  But winter, while it’s easy to see, and the plant is otherwise dormant, is unquestionably the best.

If you want to do it yourself, go online and study some examples of what to cut, and how to do it.  It’s not that difficult for trees of manageable size.

If your tree is too big for you to safely thin from a ladder, then call a professional for help.  It’s not worth a fall and a broken hip.

The point is…at some time in the life of a tree or shrub they need to be cut back and reshaped.  They just look better, and they perform better.  And if you do it now you don’t have to worry about it during the months when you’d really rather be doing something else.

Give Ever-Green a call if you doubt.  We’ll be glad to help!