Pruning is a horticultural and silvicultural process in which selected parts of a plant are removed like the buds, branches or roots. It is done to improve the growth of trees or their shape. It is the most common procedure done to maintain trees. It is done to remove diseased, dead, damaged, non-productive, or unwanted tissue from crop and landscape plants. Tree pruning can be done in plants like roses, fruit trees and grapevines. There are special tools designed for pruning. These are hand pruners, loppers and chainsaws. Self-pruning of plants also takes place by wind, ice, salinity and snow.
When Plants Are Usually Pruned
Many flowering and fruiting plants are preferably pruned while they are dormant in late winter through early spring. Some, like spring blooming shrubs and trees, get new buds as soon as the old buds fall off. These need to be pruned after right flowering. If pruning is not done at this time, there is a risk of pruning off the new buds with the old ones. Other plants need to be continuously pruned so that they remain vigorous and in flower. If pruning is carried out at the wrong time of the year it may result in less fruits and also flowering. However, it may not harm the plant. Therefore, it is very important to prune a tree at the correct time. If pruning is done very late in the season, a lot of tender and new growth is encouraged which will be killed with the onset of winter.
The Time to Prune Different Trees
Here are a few groups of trees that require a different time for pruning:
Evergreen trees– Spruce and fir trees are best pruned during winter when they are still dormant. In early June to early July, evergreen trees such as pine are pruned, when the growth is in the ‘candle stage’. During late winter, the unwanted lower branches of all evergreen trees can be removed.
Deciduous trees– late winter or early spring is the best time to prune these kind of trees. That is, before the time they leaf out. There are some trees like maple that ‘bleed’ heavily if they are pruned in late winter or early spring. This heavy bleeding however doesn’t harm the tree. They won’t bleed to death and the flow of sap will gradually decrease and stop. Oaks are not pruned from April 1 to July 1 to prevent the spread of oak wilt. (A fungal disease that can kill an oak tree). The reason being, if you prune during this time, it may attract sap beetles carrying oak wilt fungus to the pruning cuts. February and March are very good months to prune deciduous trees. To prevent ‘leafing out’, pruning must be avoided during spring. At this period of time the tree’s energy reserve is low and the bark tears easily. Also, pruning during the fall is not a good time.
Fruit trees are best pruned in late February to early April. Grapevines are pruned in March or early April.
While pruning may be necessary, it is important to do it at the right time so as to not cause undue damage to the plants or trees. A Professional Tree Service Company in Maryland can be called to help you with this.