If you’re just getting into and learning about tree care, you may find yourself wondering when the best time is to prune your trees. This will mostly depend on your reason for pruning- are you trying to remove dead limbs? Increase flowering? Figure that out, and then plan what season is best for you to work on your trees.

First, know that you should try not to prune your trees in the fall. Pruning usually increases new growth of some kind, and this is not ideal if the climate is about to get freezing cold. Not to mention, cuts won’t heal as quickly as in other seasons, and this will leave the tree vulnerable to the fungal spores that spread more during fall. You may want to get the pruning out of the way, but allow yourself to wait until all the leaves drop, the limbs are more visible, and the tree has better chances of surviving the rest of the year.

After fall passes, however, you are free to prune your trees in winter. This is a popular time to prune, because while your tree is dormant, you can make cuts that will insure more growth in the spring. If you plan to do this, you should probably wait until the coldest part of the season is over.

But if you weren’t planning on increasing growth, and instead want to slow the growth of your tree, plan to prune in the warmer months of the year. Summer is a good time to decrease the growth of any unwanted branches. In addition to dwarfing parts of your tree, you may also want to remove dead wood or defective branches during this time. In summer, you can see the limbs very easily.

Once you know what you want to achieve with pruning your tree, figuring out when to do it is easy. Plan accordingly for the weather and climate of your specific area, and good luck!