The objective of pruning
is to produce strong, healthy, attractive plants. By understanding how, when
and why to prune, and by following a few simple steps, you can achieve the
desired look. The are a few main reasons for pruning trees:
limbs that cross or are likely to break because of a weak angle
limbs that could fall and cause injury to yourself or a structure
branches that grow into utility lines
branches that interfere with lines of sight
Conifers may be pruned any time of year, but pruning during the
dormant season may minimize sap and resin flow from cut branches. Hardwood
trees and shrubs without showy flowers:
prune in the dormant season to easily visualize the structure of the tree,
to maximize wound closure in the growing season after pruning, to reduce the
chance of transmitting disease, and to discourage excessive sap flow from
wounds. Usually, the best time is during late winter when the temperature
is above freezing. Flowering trees and
shrubs: these should also be pruned during the dormant season for the
same reasons stated above; however, to preserve the current year's flower
crop, prune according to the following schedule:
that flower in early spring—prune immediately after flowering (flower buds
arise the year before they flush, and will form on the new growth).
susceptible to fireblight - these trees, including many varieties of
crabapple, hawthorn, pear and
mountain ash should be pruned during the dormant season.
in the summer or fall - prune during the dormant season (flower buds will
form on new twigs during the next growing season, and the flowers will flush
branches - can be removed any time
of the year.
alternate method of conifer pruning is to cut back no more than half of the
current years growth after it is hardened off in July though August in Ohio
Use the following decision guide for size of branches to be removed:
under 2” diameter - go ahead, between 2-4” - think twice, greater than 4”-
have a good reason.