Best Time of Year To Prune Trees

Best Time of Year To Prune Trees

Pruning is an essential part of tree care, and when done correctly, it can promote healthy growth, improve aesthetics, and ensure safety. However, not all trees should be pruned at the same time.

Timing is Key

Tree pruning is a vital aspect of tree care that should be timed carefully to ensure the best results. Each type of tree has its own pruning schedule, with considerations for disease prevention and aesthetic appeal. The majority of trees are pruned from November to March. Whether you’re maintaining deciduous, fruit, flowering, evergreen, or oak trees, following the appropriate pruning timeline is crucial for their well-being.

Late Winter to Spring Pruning: Deciduous Trees

Early spring, just before new growth begins, is an ideal time to prune deciduous trees such as maples, oaks, and birches. Pruning during this period allows you to shape the tree before it becomes too dense, promoting proper branching and structure. Removing dead or damaged branches at this time also helps prevent the spread of diseases as the tree enters its active growing season.

Maples should usually be pruned in the late spring and summer after it has fully leafed. Earlier pruning can cause sap to weep, which could weaken younger trees. Japanese Maples can be structurally pruned in Winter but can be fine pruned in late spring.

Late Winter to Early Spring: Fruit Trees

Fruit trees, like apple and pear trees, benefit from pruning during late winter to early spring, ideally before bud break. This timing encourages healthy fruit production by allowing sunlight to penetrate the canopy, improving air circulation and reducing the risk of diseases like fire blight.

Best Time of Year To Prune Trees

Late Winter to Early Spring: Flowering Trees

Flowering trees, such as cherry and dogwood, should also be pruned during late winter to very early spring. This timing ensures you won’t accidentally remove flower buds, preserving the tree’s beautiful blossoms for the coming season. You can trim away dead or diseased branches to enhance the tree’s overall appearance.

Late Winter to Early Spring: Evergreen Trees

Evergreen trees should usually be pruned in late winter to early spring while dormant. Be cautious not to cut too much, as evergreens may struggle to recover from heavy pruning. Exceptions to this timing might be arborvitae that can handle heavier pruning in spring and early summer. Junipers can also be pruned in later spring if needed.

Late Fall to Early Winter: Oak Trees

Oak trees, in particular, should be pruned during late fall to early winter to minimize the risk of oak wilt disease transmission by sap-feeding beetles. Pruning oak trees during their dormant period helps maintain their health and vitality.

Tree Pruning Times to Avoid

Pruning in the fall is generally not recommended for most tree species because it can harm their health. Fall is when trees prepare for winter dormancy, and pruning during this season can potentially stress the tree and make it more susceptible to diseases and cold damage. However, there are some exceptions and specific situations where fall pruning may be appropriate:

Dead or Hazardous Branches

If you notice dead, damaged, or hazardous branches that pose an immediate danger to people or property, it’s essential to address them promptly, regardless of the season. Safety should always be a top priority.

Remember that proper pruning techniques are equally important as timing. You also want to avoid improper pruning techniques that could harm your trees.  For significant pruning or if you’re unsure about the best approach, it’s wise to consult with a professional tree service like Frontier Tree Service.

Tree Planting Procedures for Fall

Fall is a great time to install a new landscape and plant trees and shrubs to increase their transplanting success.

Planting while dormant

Ornamental trees begin to go dormant as temperatures cool in the fall. They typically are dormant from the first freeze of the season until the temperatures start to warm in the spring. A general rule of thumb is Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. While dormant, the tree is not actively growing, so its need for water and nutrients naturally decreases. Planting while your tree is dormant greatly reduces the risk of transplant shock. Dormant trees can withstand winter conditions but you should still take care in planting them correctly to avoid stress and shock once spring returns.

Diseases and Pests are also dormant in the winter. This significantly reduces the susceptibility to your trees becoming under attack. Certain ornamental trees are best protected when applying dormant oil in the winter. Contact us for more information about keeping your trees safe from pathogens all through the year.

Winter Watering Needs

During winter, your trees’ need for water is greatly reduced compared to what it needs for foliage and flowers in the growing season. Trees do still need water in the winter in order to slowly adjust to their new surroundings and establish their root system. A common mistake is planting trees during a dry spell or prior to freezing temperatures. It’s always a good idea to water your new trees in at the time they are planted. Rain offers inconsistent moisture and new roots need consistency to start to establish roots. When the ground freezes, plants cannot take up water and so it’s important they had it available prior to a major drop in temperatures.

Planting depth and planting on a slope

The correct soil depth is always important when planting trees. Established trees can help protect your landscape from erosion, but if trees are planting on a steep slope in the winter, they can pose a landslide hazard. One technique is to build a terraced garden. The stonework will correct the slope issues and then your trees can be planted normally. As their root systems grow, they will strengthen the hill’s stability without the slope as a direct force against them.

You also need to take care to avoid planting the base of your tree too deep or too shallow. Soil should cover the entire root mass at the tree’s base and should not bury the trunk. A good rule of thumb is to emulate the depth of soil your tree had when planted in its pot.

Planting too high can expose roots, causing your new tree to dry out. Planting too low can submerge the base of your tree in soil or water, causing its roots to rot.

Planting in the right location the first time

Finding the right site for your tree is really important. Frequently transplanting can cause stress and make your tree more susceptible to problems later. Some things to look for when choosing the site for your tree:
Consider its mature height and the potential to obscure your view. Do not plant too close to your fences, home, or garage. Consider the direction of the wind and plant your trees out of the wind’s path to prevent problems later. If there are light winds, staking during the winter can help a new tree from blowing over, but avoiding this issue in the long run is recommended by planting in the right spot the first time.
In the Northwest it’s safe to plant trees almost year round (as long as the ground is not frozen),

For your planting needs contact Frontier Landscaping Inc.

Frontier Tree Care provides emergency tree services if the need arises. Save our number this winter in case you have a tree emergency

Fantastic Japanese Maples for Fall Color

Fall in the Northwest is a time we always look forward to. Along with cooler days it’s also the time when trees give us a beautiful array of fall colors. Japanese Maples have steadily gained popularity in Northwest gardens for several decades. Japanese Maples are desired for their versatility in the landscape and exceptional fall color. There are so many varieties available on the market, you can easily source the right one for any sized garden: urban gardens, suburban landscapes and larger properties.

Their vibrant fall color makes them a favorite as a focal point in landscapes. They prefer slightly acidic sandy loam soils. Even in the winter months, they have a structure that adds elegance to your landscape. They tolerate our naturally acidic soils and wet winters and are equally beautiful in a mixed landscape border or as an accent plant. Here are a few of the best varieties for Northwest Gardens, hardy in USDA zones 5-9. 

Green Lace-leaf Japanese MapleAcer palmatum ‘Seriyu’ 

Green Lace-leaf Japanese Maple 

‘Seriyu’ means Blue-Green Dragon in Japanese. This variety gives all the delicate texture of weeping Japanese maples but with an upright growth habit. Soft green dissected palmate leaves are numerous on very elegant long branches. The mature habit can be grown with a central leader or as a multi stemmed tree. The fall color transforms the tree into a multitude of warm red and orange shades. ‘Seriyu’ is a good specimen for containers or near a water feature. Mature height 15-20 feet tall.

Coral Bark Japanese MapleAcer palmatum ‘Sango kaku’ 

Coral Bark Japanese Maple 

If you’ve been looking for a specimen tree or large multi-stemmed shrub with year-round interest, you’ve found it in Acer palmatum ‘Sango kaku’ also known as Coral Bark Maple. These small trees have the delicate palmate leaves and outstanding fall color typical of Japanese Maples. ‘Sango kaku’ is even more impressive with new growth emerging a bright red that becomes even more vibrant in the winter. You can plant these as a landscaping focal point or a container tree, in part shade to sun. Coral bark maples are at their best when protected from the hottest sun of the day and high winds.

Maintain with annual pruning to stay below 15 feet, eventually maturing at 20-25 feet tall.

Emperor 1 Red Japanese MaplesAcer palmatum ‘Wolff Emperor 1’ 

Emperor 1 Red Japanese Maples

This variety is known to be one of the toughest of the upright growing Japanese Maples. Leaves emerge in spring to a brilliant crimson red and maintain their dramatic color throughout the Summer. When Fall color begins the foliage transforms to a vibrant bright red before Winter. Even in dormancy the vase shape structure of ‘Emperor 1’ makes it an outstanding tree in any sized landscape. They can tolerate afternoon sun consistently better than other varieties. They reach about 25-35 feet tall and wide.

Weeping Red Japanese MapleAcer palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’

Weeping Red Japanese Maple 

Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’ is a weeping variety of Japanese Maple. This very popular landscape tree is known for its finely textured palmate dissected leaves and incredible red fall color. These typically mature at 6-8 feet tall and wide. Their mature height is based on where they are grafted. With training they can reach heights of over ten feet. Plant in full sun to part shade, and maintain regular intervals of summer irrigation to keep their leaves soft texture. They need protection from high winds.

This variety can handle the hot sun and drier months better than other Japanese Maple varieties, but it’s still best to maintain summer irrigation consistently for all Japanese maples. Deep and regular watering as your tree gets established is the key to avoiding crispy leaves and maintaining the plant’s overall health.

Orangeola Laceleaf Japanese MapleAcer palmatum dissectum ‘Orangeola’

Orangeola Laceleaf Japanese Maple

Orangeola Japanese Maple is a stunning landscape tree whose foliage goes through various changes throughout the seasons. In the fall, ‘Orangeola’ continues its color changes and develops bright flaming red and burnt orange colors for a powerful display.

Unlike other weeping Japanese Maples – whose growth pattern is to spread wider than they grow tall – the Orangeola Japanese Maple has a relatively modest spread of 3-7 feet. It can grow up to 8 feet tall. It is, therefore, more suitable for planting in containers than other lace-leaf maples, and it’s a beautiful specimen on porches or patios.

In fall, ‘Orangeola’ continues its color changes and develops bright flaming red and burnt orange colors for a powerful display. If grown in a location with more exposure to bright light Japanese Maples can have more intense coloring.

Japanese maples will reward you for decades with beautiful shape, form, and fall color! 

Contact Frontier Tree Care for your technical pruning needs this fall and winter. We can assess your trees for corrective maintenance, pruning crossing branches and removing any dead wood ahead of winter storms. With regular tree care and landscape maintenance your Japanese maples will be staples in your Northwest garden.

Oxydendrum arboreum

Oxydendrum arboreum

Oxydendrum arboreum – known commonly as sourwood – is one of the great trees for small spaces with a history of healing. The oval-shaped tree grows 20-25 feet tall, provides year round interest and exceptional fall color. It is common in the nursery trade as a large multi-stemmed tree or with a central leader. It requires very little pruning and is tolerant of most soil types.

As the tree matures its bark becomes gray, ridged and scaly, adding to visual interest in the winter months. Pioneers used to chew sourwood bark for mouth pain, draw its sap to relieve fever and brewed leaf tea for digestive maladies. Truely an all season tree for both its look and herbal remedies.

Today sorrel leaf tea is widely used to slake the thirst of mountain climbers. In spring the branches take a back seat to glossy green leaves 5-8 inches long and sour to the taste, hence the tree’s common name.

Summer ushers in drooping 4 to 8-inch clusters of waxy, fragrant white blooms very much like lily-of-the-valley. These are a favorite of pollinators and sourwood honey is a delicacy in Pennsylvania south to Florida and Louisiana. Where the tree is native.

The flowers make their parting bows, making way for unusual fruit that looks like brown, wooden capsules and contain numerous pointy seeds.

Fall is where this tree takes center stage in the landscape, dense leaves take on intensely beautiful shades of brilliant crimson, purplish-red and sometimes yellow.

Winter, spring, summer, fall: Oxydendrum arboreum shines as a lawn specimen, a garden feature, an ornamental addition in a tree line or as a clump in a wide open space.

Fall Tree Care with Frontier Tree Service

Fall Tree Care with Frontier Tree Service

Fall tree care in Vancouver WA

Fall is here and Winter is right around the corner. The best way to ensure that your trees stay healthy and happy is to prepare beforehand.

Our trained professionals at Frontier Tree Service can help. Here are a few things that are necessary when getting ready for the approaching winter.

Trees “seem” to be in a state of hibernation or dormant in the winter. However, exposure to rough weather conditions can cause them great stress. We can minimize the stress by preparing your trees a little at a time. It is a fact that if your trees are well cared for in the Winter, they will give you a lovely Spring.

Watering… Winter droughts require watering as much as summer droughts. Obviously, this depends on the amount of rainfall we will get this year but if temperatures permit, an occasional watering during the winter on young trees can be a lifesaver. If your rainfall hasn’t provided enough moisture, watering takes place when soil and trees are cool but not frozen. Depending on which area you are in, this can vary but it is best to be aware of what to do in this situation to ensure the best tree health.

Preventing breakage issues…

Branch breakage or splitting can be caused by ice and snow accumulation or chewing and rubbing by animals. You may prevent problems with young trees by wrapping their base in a hard, plastic guard or a metal hardware cloth. Wrapping trees with burlap or plastic cloth also can prevent temperature damage. However, it is important to remember to remove the wraps and guards in the spring to prevent damage when the tree begins to grow. Other damage can be caused when plowing or shoveling snow. Be mindful of trees nearby. Damage to limbs and trunks from plow blades or a sharp shovel can be detrimental to trees.

Prune your trees… 

Fall pruning tips

Fall is a good time to prune your trees. Not only are trees dormant in the colder months, but it is also easier to see a tree’s structure when there are no leaves on the branches. Proper pruning is vital to the health of trees and plants, as it helps relieve stress on trees and keeps them growing. Each tree is different, so make sure to consult with your frontier Tree Experts, to determine which trees are best pruned in your area.

Plant NOW! 

Fall tree planting.

Since autumn is the time of year for beautiful fall foliage, many people do not realize that it is also a prime time to plant new trees. After cooler weather has set in, conditions are excellent for stimulating root growth in new trees. Once roots are established throughout the fall and winter, spring showers and summer warmth encourage new top growth. 

Contact US to schedule an appointment!