When you want to know when is the best time to prune, you need answers that fit your particular plants’ needs. Keep in mind that pruning plants is a necessity not just for appearance sake but also for the health of your plants and trees.
When you know why pruning is so important, it is far easier to judge the best times to prune.
Pruning away dead leaves, twigs and branches is important to the health of your plants. When you find your plants have brown leaves that are withered and dried, pruning these away helps the plant save its nutrients to distribute to the live parts of the plant. In other words, dead leaves, twigs and branches take nutrients away from the rest of your plants.
The other reason to prune is to keep shrubs, vines and trees from growing unsightly or out of control. For example, trees that have limbs too close to your rain gutters and downspouts mean extra work clearing gutter debris away. Limbs too close to your house also attracts raccoons, squirrels and mice into your attic.
Don’t forget trees and shrubs planted too close to your foundation may cause roots to crack the foundation.
You can prune hardwood trees early in spring or late in fall. Prune softwoods in late spring and late summer.
Basically, prune when the temperature is not high enough to damage the area where cuttings take place. In most cases, shrubbery can be pruned throughout the summer without any potential damage.
It is important to know your climate well enough to know how pruning affect each plant species. For example, if you live in a high heat area with a lot of moisture, you can prune most any season of the year. However, if your climate is hot and very dry, you should prune early in the morning or after the sun goes down.
Pruning in early morning or after the sun goes down is a good rule to follow for any type of climate. Once the sun is high in the sky, pruning in hot sun may cause the plant to lose its natural moisture rapidly.
The other effect pruning has is on plant growth. Ideally, a healthy plant that is well maintained will not be affected by pruning. Much depends on the age of the plant or tree.
For example, if you plan to shape a tree so it has an attractive globe appearance, begin pruning when the tree is at least three years old. Pruning a tree when it is a sapling can be fatal.
This is also true of shrubbery. For example, an azalea, mountain laurel or wisteria bush should not be pruned until it is at least two years old.
The major things to keep in mind when it is time to prune is the age of the plant or tree, climate and temperature and seasons of the year.