When is the best time to trim your trees? Now is the time.
These late-winter days can be a good time to prune most trees.
At the close of the dormant season--just before spring growth begins—is a prime time for pruning. Unless there are serious issues or damage to the tree, pruning should be a simple cleanup task. Remove dead branches, limbs that hang too low over sidewalks, or branches that threaten to grow into a structure. It’s also a good time to remove water sprout that spring from the trunk.
Remember not to prune spring flowering trees and shrubs such as fruit trees and lilacs. They set their buds last fall and pruning will remove spring-flowering branches. Wait until after these plants have bloomed to prune them or cut back their growth.
Don’t go crazy—only remove what is necessary. Topiary is not recommended. Neither is topping; removing the top of a tree can be detrimental to its health. Colorado State Forest Service recommends that you not remove more than 25% of a tree’s branches in any one year.
Know where to prune. Cut outside the branch collar—the point where one branch leaves a larger one (or the trunk), often identified by raised or wrinkled bark.
If you need to leave the ground to prune—by climbing a ladder or the tree itself, contact a professional who will take care of the task safely with little risk to the pruner and to the tree.
And while you’re giving your shrubs and trees some attention, remember to water them when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees with no snow cover.