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What Time of Year is Best for Tree Trimming?

By March 1, 2019January 12th, 2022Tree Services, Tree Trimming
time of year tree trimming

To keep trees looking their best, occasional tree trimming is recommended. However, what is the best time to trim trees? The type of tree and your motivation for trimming dictate your answer to that question.

Like many plants, trees operate on a cycle of growth and dormancy each year. Tree trimming can be done in any season, even when the tree is in its dormant cycle. Some species thrive when tree trimming is done during specific times of the year. In general, however, you want to plan tree trimming around the specific tree problem you want to address.

Winter Tree Trimming

Winter is the season when trees are not actively growing, and so that season is often a popular time of year for tree trimming. Most trees do not have leaves in the winter, which helps expose problematic issues such as crossing branches or problematic growth problems. Tree trimming in the winter encourages new spring growth, but it is best to do it after the coldest part of the season to avoid leaving the three vulnerable to extreme cold snaps.

All species of trees, in general, can sustain tree trimming during the winter.

Trimming Trees in the Spring and Summer

For most tree species, tree trimming in the spring can yield good results. Although the sap is rising in the tree during this time period, early spring allows for easy identification of problematic branches before the tree has fully leafed out.

In addition to exposing problem areas, spring tree trimming makes it easy to see which branches are dead and subject to removal. Since those branches will not flower or leaf, their bare bark will be more evident than during the dormant stages. Additionally, this time period can help with identifying trees that cannot be saved, in which case you might schedule tree takedown and removal services.

For tree species that flower in mid to late summer, early spring tree trimming is best in order for the tree to produce more buds on the remaining branches.

Want to avoid tree fruit production and flowering? Tree injections might be the answer!

Although summer tree trimming is possible, it can be more difficult because once leaves fully cover the trees, it can be difficult to identify branches with problems. However, summer is the best season to identify which branches are weakened due to the weight of the leaves; these branches will sag compared to healthy branches.

Additionally, tree species that fall under the category of spring-flowering trees are better to trim in the summer, as after trimming takes place, the branches will form more flower buds if trimmed shortly after spring flowers have faded.

There are several species of trees that benefit from summer trimming as well because they produce a lot of sap which can make trimming difficult in late winter or spring. Species which do best for tree trimming in summer include:

  • Maples
  • Birches
  • Dogwoods
  • Walnuts
  • Elms

Trimming these species of trees in summer helps you avoid the sticky mess you might experience with these species in other seasons. And again, if the flowering bothers you, some tree injections offer a deflowering agent that keeps them from producing fruits which can cause a mess as time goes on. Annual treatments like this keep your tree looking great without all the cleanup later!

Tree Trimming in Fall

Fall is, in general, the worst time to trim a tree. Cuts take longer to heal during this time period because the tree is going into dormancy and when trees with fungal diseases release large numbers of spores after being cut, the increased risk of infection from the released sports increases. You can put your trees at risk if you decide to trim them in the fall.

Fall tree trimming cannot always be avoided, however. If the branches pose a safety hazard or threaten property, it is advisable to take them down right then and there no matter what season it is.


Contact Omni Tree Service, Inc. at 636-391-9944 for tree trimming in St. Louis year round!

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