I have heard several different ideas about the right time to prune or
trim trees. (By the way, is there a difference between pruning and
trimming?) "Prune only in winter" . . . "Prune only in summer" . . .
"Prune any time" . . . .
Anyway, I live in Wisconsin, so now in January it is winter here. I
want to thin out the branches in my silver maples so that I have a
little more sunlight on the yard below. When is the right time to do
In the event that someone tells me to get rid of the trees altogether,
that is out of the question. We rent.
On 15 Jan 2007 08:08:38 -0800, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
You are better off pruning silver maples a bit later in winter. In
Wisconsin, that could be as early as March, late as May. Sometime
before last frost and before the sugars start running in the trees.
Fruit trees should be pruned in very late winter. Here in TX, that's
in February. Up there, it would be late April or early May. It all
depends on the tree.
Depends on the tree as to right time to prune. Silver maples and other
large trees are best pruned in the late winter or early spring. Maples
have a propensity to "bleed" sap when cut at that time. Don't let this
concern you; the tree will not bleed to death. Pruning NOW should be
confined to anything that could be a threat to property or bodies.
Pruning cuts this late in the season will not have a chance to heal
properly as they would in the early spring.
I am in Wisconsin. Thinning (AKA pruning) maples can be done when it is warm
in late winter/early spring. Like for fruit trees, spring pruning will stimulate
growth. Summer pruning will be more permanent and no pruning should be done in
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In general, deciduous trees (other than ornamental flowering trees) are
pruned just before the leaf buds swell and open. You want to delay
until then because pruning too early can promote growth with any
unseasonably warm day; that growth will then be killed with the next
frost. Also, you want to delay until you can tell what branches might
not have survived the winter; they will need to be removed. Where I
live, that means pruning right now. Where you live, wait.
For ornamental flowering trees that bloom in the spring or early summer,
you prune after they flower. That's because the flowers are often on
growth that was produced the previous growing season. If you prune
before flowering, you remove most of the flower buds. If you prune
after flowering, you promote new growth of next year's flower buds.
Some deciduous trees have a very showy display of flowers, but their
purpose is to grow fruit (apples, peaches, etc). These are pruned at
the same time as other deciduous trees, not with ornamental flowering
trees. Pruning does reduce the crop, but the fruit that does form will
generally be larger (without larger pits or more seeds). Often, you
will still have to thin the fruit to optimize the size of the remaining
fruit and to reduce the risk of branches breaking from the weight of the
When to prune evergreen subtropical and tropical trees is an entirely
Above all, prune when the shears are sharp.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
The general rule about pruning is to do it when the trees are dormant, although
may be exceptions to that with sweet cherry trees because of disease issues. If
prune when the tree is not dormant, you are just encouraging it to put out more
growth, since the root structure tries to maintain a balance with the above
part of the tree.
I think trimming vs. pruning is mainly a semantics issue. However, in my mind,
trimming is done more to shape a tree, whereas pruning also includes freeing up
the center portion of a tree to allow better air circulation, etc. Pruning also
to eliminate branches which are crossing and touching eachother.
I would suggest trimming your maple in late winter when weather permits, as long
the trees are not coming out of dormancy.
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