Call Us Today! 620-231-1127


When to Prune a Tree or Shrub in the Four States

When to Prune a Tree or Shrub in the Four Statesfeatured image

Posted on November 30, 2022 by Van Becelaere Greenhouse

Fall may seem like the perfect time to prune woody plants, like your trees or shrubs, but there is a lot of conflicting information online about when to shear a tree or bush.

For example, the Missouri Botanical Garden suggests that trees and shrubs be cut at different times of the year. That’s to say, trees and shrubs with “crowded branches, dead limbs, or [competing limbs, known as] double-leaders, and even unsightly limbs can be cut between mid-November to mid-March.”

While Tennessee Technical University suggests homeowners follow the rule of “the Five D’s to prune at any time of the year,” whether the tree is:

  • Dead (wood)
  • Dying
  • Diseased
  • Damaged
  • Deformed

Then there’s The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which recommends pruning certain trees and shrubs at specific times of the year, mostly in later winter and early Spring.

Finally, there’s The ArborDay Foundation, whose website contains a great deal about how to trim trees and shrubs, such as:

  • Cutting fruit-bearing plants
  • Pruning fruit trees versus cutting back shade trees
  • Contacting an arborist on how to prune trees and shrubs of specific types
  • Trimming young trees, or even mature trees
  • Varying Schedules for removing “dead, diseased, dying, and defective tree limbs.”

Trimming Bushes or Trees in Later-Winter or Early-Spring

To remove branches from a tree is, in effect, to cause injury to that tree. So it’s best to limit pruning for younger trees, especially if the tree is a shade or fruit tree. When clipping healthy bushes or trees, it’s best to wait till late winter or early Spring, just before the first bud bloom.

Young Trees

By pruning young trees, homeowners can save money and provide a safer, healthier tree for the entire community. With younger trees, shear is made simple by removing any signs of dead wood or diseased branches, which can be done any time of the year.

When to Prune

To prune or not to prune depends mainly on the reason for trimming. Winter months are a popular time in many regions of the United States to cut trees or bushes back. 

As we already mentioned, if the limbs are dead, dying, or diseased, that can be done whenever necessary, especially on mature trees. But if you cut back an entire tree too soon, you may encourage unwanted seasonal growth. So, try holding off till late winter or early Spring to promote new growth. It helps to plan on making those cuts after the coldest months have passed.

By summertime, after all the leaves are out and blossoms have fallen, you can quickly identify and mark unsightly or deformed limbs that are broken or damaged to remove late next winter before Spring.

Summertime is not the perfect time to hedge back a tree or bush because you may stun that plant’s growth. That is why it’s best to resist the urge to cut plants back until after the Fall season.

Contact Your Local Garden Center

If you’re looking for good advice on tree care or tree-cutting services, contact the team at Van Becelaere Greenhouse at (620) 231-1127. Their team of landscaping professionals and garden specialists can schedule an onsite consult for tree trimming or hedge cutting.

If you are also interested in planting a new tree, you can visit their online tree shop and place your order today!