Best Time to Prune Trees
The best time to prune trees depends on several factors. Tree species, the climate, and the current insect and disease trends are all things to take into consideration. However, an improper pruning cut will do more damage to a tree than pruning it at the wrong time. SO when you determine the best time to prune trees in your yard, regardless of what factors you base your decision on, make sure proper pruning techniques are being used. It should also be noted that dead or broken branches can be pruned at any time without any adverse effects.
If you have not already brushed up on proper pruning technique please see our pages on this topic: Tree Trimming
Best time to Prune based on tree species
The best time to prune trees varies between tree species. Timing is more particular with flowering or fruiting trees. Late winter is generally the best time to prune trees that are either non-blooming or summer blooming. On the other hand, trees that bloom in spring should be pruned right after blooming preferably before the summer begins. There are big differences in how to prune different fruit trees. For citrus trees, pruning is best done after fruiting and before flowering. However, apricots bear on two-year old wood so minimal pruning should be done only once a year.
Best time to Prune based on climate
The best time to prune trees varies between climates. During the coldest months a tree is in the dormant part of its growing cycle. Pruning during this time helps the tree to close wounds faster, protecting itself from insects and disease. In spring trees are expending all of their energy into putting out new growth, leaving little resources left for defense. Spring is also the time we see an influx of insects come along to feed on trees new, soft growth. Insects pick up pathogens, transmitting diseases from tree to tree as they feed. It is best to avoid pruning during this spring rush.
Best time to Prune based on insect and disease
The best time to prune trees varies between the current insect and disease trends. Oak wilt is an example of a pathogen that insects can spread from tree to tree. Although this disease has caused devastation in the Texas hill country, we are fortunate that it has not become a widespread problem in the Houston area. Following good cultural practices such as pruning during safe times and sterilizing pruning equipment are a good idea none the less.
Best time to Prune Trees in Houston, Tx
In short, general terms.. the best time to prune trees in the Houston, Texas area is early July through late January. There are some advantages to pruning trees in this time frame, such as better disease resistance and increased vigor. For blooming and fruiting trees, pruning at the right time will increase blooms and fruit volume.
For additional explanation on the best time to prune trees try reading this post by our Board Certified Master Arborist: Best time to prune trees?