Best Time to Prune 5 Common Trees in South Jersey
When you look at the trees in your yard, what do you see? For many of us, there is a chance that we see overgrown, wild trees that have been let go for years and years. Whether you’ve lived in your house for years or it is brand new, trees are one of the things that we let grow wild. This isn’t always a bad thing for your trees, especially when they are just establishing themselves in the ground.
However, pruning is one of the best times to notice if something is off or going wrong with your trees. In most cases, if you do see something that is dead, dying, or something that is infested with pests, you can go ahead and cut off that limb. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Learning when to cut and trim your trees is the best way to ensure that they will stay healthy.
5. Dawn Redwood: When the Needles Drop
- Start With Lower Branches
- Prune Evenly
- Cutting Can Dictate Foliage
One of the keys to successfully pruning a Dawn Redwood tree is to know when the tree is just about to start a new growing season, and prune then. By all accounts, when the needles turn to a rust color and start to drop, this is a good signal that you should start pruning.
When pruning this tree, you want to cut back to joints. This enables the tree to stay healthy and focus its nutrients on growing, not repairing what has been done by the saw. Pruning in this way keeps your tree even and growing properly. If you just cut at random, you might end up with a lopsided tree that is more likely to fall in storms.
According to the Forestry Forum, you want to cut about 25% of the crown off the top of the tree when doing a serious pruning, especially if you haven’t done it in a few years.
4. Sweetbay Magnolia: After Blooms Die
- Prune in Conical Shape
- Sterilize Tools Before Pruning
- Cut At 45-Degree Angle
When pruning the Sweetbay Magnolia, make sure to start with the dead or dying branches. This will allow you to see the shape that you are working with, especially in trees that have a lot of dead matter to eliminate. Once you have that, you should really only cut back to shape your tree. Sweetbay Magnolias are sensitive and require a firm hand when pruning, including precise cuts.
According to A Way to Garden, there are two situations in which you should make more cuts: the first is when you prune any “grafts” or shoots that come from the bottom of the tree. This is especially common in newer trees. The second time to make decisive cuts is when you see water sprouts, or vertical growths.
Make sure to watch your tree and only prune after the flowers bloom and start to die. This can happen at different times each year, so you can’t really set a time to do this – it can vary by as much as a few months.
3. Golden Rain Tree: With Extreme Caution
- Be Extremely Careful
- Sanitize Tools
- Prune Crossing Branches
If you have a Golden Rain Tree that you love, it is best not to try to prune these by yourself. They are extremely susceptible to damage from machinery and tools. Even making a cut that isn’t precise or that leaves something behind can be the end of your tree.
Most people choose to just let their trees go, but not everyone can do that. The branches droop quite a bit, which can impede traffic. You should prune if these branches start to snap or appear dead. The only other time most people will prune is when the tree has more than one leader, which can make it weak.
If you can, prune during the winter months when the tree is dormant, according to Garden Guides.
2. Ginkgo: Late Fall or Early Winter
- Thin Tree Out
- Prune to Shape
- Precise Cuts Necessary
A Gingko Tree is one of the trees that you absolutely have to prune so that it stays healthy and safe for everyone, no matter what size it is. Since they are mostly ornamental trees, people tend to prune them a little bit too much by themselves, so be careful when you decide to prune it. Less is always more.
Always prune your tree when it is dormant, because this gives the tree time to heal itself, according to Clemson.
Most importantly, look for branches that will compete with the main trunk – these need to be eliminated. You should also cut off dead or dying branches, as they can infect the rest of the tree. Other things to remove include suckers, crossed branches, and anything that has a disease.
1. European Hornbeam: Your Choice
- Drastic Pruning Welcome
- Prune During Different Seasons
- Use Precision When Cutting
If you have a young European Hornbeam, the best thing to do is let the tree grow for a few years without pruning it. Then, when you do prune, you can drastically prune the tree to shape it into what you want. Of course, how and when you do that really depends on what you want out of the tree.
Louis the Plant Geek breaks down the different times you can prune your tree: “If you prune in the Fall, the hedge stays sharp all Winter and into early Summer, after which the new growth gives it a shaggier and shaggier profile. You could, therefore, prune just in mid-Summer, July or early August, say, in which case a second but shorter crop of growth will be inspired. Most of these leaves will have the unusual talent of remaining attached to the twigs even after they’ve turned to their Fall color, so the hedge will be opaque Winter as well as Summer.”
Note that you can only prune in this way once your tree has been established.
At the end of the day, it is always better to have a professional prune and trim your trees. While you can do it yourself in some cases, in most cases it won’t be worth the danger. Typically, people don’t have the high quality tools that they need to really do a great job on their trees. Instead, they do even more damage and invite diseases and pests into their yards. Even worse, most people don’t have the ladders and tools to get high enough to cut the branches that really need to be cut.
At Bumblebee Tree Service & Landscape Design, we have all of the tools we need to safely and successfully prune your trees. We’ll work with you to find the absolute best time to prune your trees, and then we will carry it out to your specifications – whether you just want some shaping or you want to trim back the tree for more growth.
Contact us today at (609) 297-1721 for a free consultation.